The Presby Kids
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The Presby Kids

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Pop Rock


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"A Transplanted Minnesotan in New York"

Carl Creighton's set was a very pleasant surprise. He started off on piano and switched to guitar for the majority of the set with a brief visit back to the piano. He had a bassist and a drummer playing with him, and a couple of guest harmony vocalists graced the stage over the course of the night (Erin Regan and also Mimi Lavalley, who herself has recently appeared on the Moonshine Show with the band Hogzilla). The sound of the band was straight ahead, and they played together well. The best part was that Carl's vocals stayed very clear and out front of the band -- dynamically speaking, not rhythmically speaking -- this was great because this guy has some clever lyrics up his sleeve.

As far as I can remember, Carl played exclusively songs from the new CD Minnesota -- this being a CD release party and all. The two main themes of the CD are that of boy from Minnesota making his way in the big city and the family that Carl has left behind, including a sister who died.

The first song on the CD, "Smoking is Ugly," jumps right into the first theme with its chorus of "If money's an issue in New York, / You can go back to where you're from. / Mother's holding down the fort, / Sending you props so you will come back home." The second verse nicely describes paying too much for coffee, tipping the waitress for being pretty and giving her a gig flyer in the hopes that she'll come.

Similarly, both the title track, "Minnesota," and a song called "El Paso," look outward to those places from New York.

"Minnesota" is sung with a haunting Great Plains pace and a beautifully sparse piano accompaniment. A verse that comes around twice is

"'Cause my home is in Minnesota --
You can't compete with 10,000 lakes.
And I won't regret one iota;
I've already made my fair share of mistakes."

But the real kicker is the chorus that gets altered a little bit each time:

"If I ever do come back to you sometime,
Momma's going to worry herself sick.
If I ever do come back to you sometime,
You're going to have to be less of a prick,"

and then

"If I ever do come back to you sometime,
It'll be to visit, not to stay."

"El Paso" similarly is about trying to figure out where you belong. Over the course of the song, the lines, "We weren't meant for this town; / You were meant for me," evolve into the repeated demand at the end of the song, "We weren't meant for this town; / We were meant for us."

In a more whimsical song, Carl pontificates on the existence and extinction of lightbulbs:

"There's a lightbulb in the garbage
Waiting to be taken out
To meet all its fallen brothers
That it left back in aisle nine
When some sucker came and bought it
For to burn bright and die a sudden death."

The chorus on "Never Gave You My Guitar" has a few clever turns of phrase and seems like one that many of us can identify with:

"Sure I could play 'Sweet Jane' or 'Heart and Soul,'
But the quarter notes don't make me whole.
I need a left hand to play to my right.
Sure I could play 'Sweet Jane' or 'Heart and Soul,'
Before the liquor finally takes its toll.
I think I'll cover Leonard Cohen and call it a night."

(Leonard Cohen also gets name checked in the song "Live Tonight" on the CD.)

One of the nicest things about Carl's compositional style is his wise use of rhythm. On different songs, he arranges the words in such a way that you don't get what your ear is expecting. This is never done in a jarring way; rather, Carl is able to add emphasis to his lyrics through his vocal phrasing in a way that many more established musicians should find themselves envious of.
- The Sound of Blackbirds


11 North



Carl Creighton recorded his solo album Minnesota at Seaside Lounge in Park Slope Brooklyn, where Blake Luley was interning. Blake approached Carl about making an EP together. The EP turned into an album, 11 North, and when Jesse Newkirk from Blake's band My Boy came on board to play lead guitar and sing harmonies, the band The Presby Kids was formed.