Livingston vocalist/guitarist Marcedes Carroll has a debut EP out, with seven original songs, five by Carroll and two co-written with Jennifer Schmitt (“Downriver” and “Old Man”). A legion of regional players provides a knockout complement to Carroll’s powerful voice.
On guitars are husband Isaac Carroll, Rick Winking, David Dyas and Levi Main (he also plays harmonica). Dyas and Main share harmony vocals, as do Alaina Gordon and Hannah Clemonson. Ethan Decker adds drums and percussion; pianists are Chris Cundy, Tyler Schultz, and Luke Simonson. Chelsea Hunt is on fiddle, Tony Polecastro plays Dobro, and Grammy-winning producer Doc Wiley adds bass. Winking, Dyas, Schultz, and Wiley are members of Bozeman’s The Waiting, a band that interprets Tom Petty songs.
Carroll has blues influences, like Ella and Etta, and artists like The Trio (Dolly, Emmylou, Linda). But I hear others holding sway as well. In “Downriver,” a slowly rockin’ and bluesy ’60s belt-buckle shiner, Carroll elongates her syllables with smooth transitions à la k.d. lang, and emits warbly, growly inflections like Janis. She goes all out; it’s a wailer with fine syrupy Dobro. This one’s a hit!
In the pop-rock “Kisses,” Carroll expands her elastic alto with a squealy quality, dropping deep for notes, then going high to sing a breathy “whisper.”
She’s terrific on The Band’s “Cripple Creek,” giving it an up-tempo meter and swampy feel; there’s a wah-wah guitar break that really talks, too. “Sagebrush” has nifty drum work, cool fiddle and Bonanza-sounding guitar.
“Old Man” is spooky and ominous. With an excellent arrangement and wicked instrumentals, it turns a nursery rhyme on its head as a downtrodden spouse exacts revenge on her abusive husband. “Knick-knack paddy-whack, old man.” Ha!
Carroll recently released Vol. 2 of She’s Pretty – a second seven-song effort that includes the title song, a bittersweet ballad.
Listen to both EPs at marcedescarroll.com.
– Mariss McTucker