CD a dream come true for musician
For Carrie Rowan, a Northboro singer/songwriter and producer of her first full-length CD, "Almost Home," it means getting to a place with the guidance of love, family, new and old friends and sharing that journey utilizing the extreme reach of the Internet.
Sitting in her comfortable kitchen drinking "tea and strawberry soup" served by her youngest daughter, Amelia, Rowan looked around and laughingly wondered how she managed to pull off writing and producing "Almost Home" over the last year, along with starting up Little Listeners, a preschool program in which she gets the little ones going through music and song, as well as performing a regular gig at Noodle Noggin' 'N Bean, in Northboro.
Judging from "Almost Home," which she co-produced with Oen Kennedy, she's certainly on the right track. For a first CD, everything about it is beautifully polished, but it's her delicate voice and honest lyrics, along with an impressive lineup of musicians lending their talents on this CD that makes it an outstanding first effort.
"I feel blessed to be working with such wonderful musicians," Rowan said of Kennedy, Lori Diamond, Seth Connelly, Bill Derby, Eric Kilburn (who recorded, mixed and mastered "Almost Home") and Phil Punch.
While she felt the performer and artist inside her early on, she went off to college in Ithaca, N.Y., and put performing on the backburner.
After college, "I had a very successful corporate America career … but one day I just said, is this it, really?" she said. "I left that job and started doing software sales…but it's funny, I composed a song for my husband (Rob Daigneault) at our wedding. He didn't know anything about it and everyone was saying all these wonderful things to me about it. We have Rob on tape saying, 'That's it, she's leaving her job on Monday!' It was just a joke, a farce, but who knew a year later I (would actually leave) my job?"
Rowan met her husband-to-be in high school and they re-connected at their 10-year reunion.
"A year later, we were engaged, and a year after that we were married," Rowan said. "How many people do that?"
Daigneault has always been a supporter of Rowan's pursuing a career in music and helped her in the decision to fully submerge herself in the process of this dream. About seven years ago, she made a three-song, demo CD in New York but then was sidetracked by the arrival of two daughters, Lilly and Amelia.
"But the music always stayed with me," she said.
Rowan hasn't wasted any of those years she spent in corporate America. She's putting that experience to a valuable use in marketing and promoting her new career.
"I did sales and sales are sales," she said.
The Internet is enabling musicians to get their music out into the world, according to Rowan.
"Nimbit, the company I use, is really cool, an amazing service," Rowan said. "It's just an incredible vehicle, it's not even a year and I've had 16,000 hits (on the site). I have friends all over the world who can listen to my music. To share a commonality across the sea … it's just amazing to me."
A celebration for the release of "Almost Home" comes in the form of a free concert at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 28, at the Parish Center for the Arts, 10 Lincoln St., Westford.
"I was driving home after picking up the CD and thought … this is like this dream come true, just a piece of plastic, I know, but the whole thing has been very lifting for me," Rowan said.
She is also scheduled to perform at 6 p.m., Saturday, July 12, at Tom's Gourmet Marketplace, 4 West Main St., Northboro, as part of the Girls in the Round concert series.
For more information, to listen to Rowan's music, order "Almost Home," or download tunes, visit myspace.com/carriesongs.
In America's fast-paced culture, it can be hard for a wife and mother of two to find a moment for herself, let alone the time to record a full length album. Northborough mom, Carrie Rowan has done just that. She recently released "Almost Home" her first full-length CD.
"I've sort of been preparing for this my whole life," said Rowan. "The CD is called 'Almost Home', and it's kind of like I'm returning to my roots."
Rowan was quite successful in the corporate world for 10 years before she decided to quit her job so she could dedicate more time to her music.
"I had a very successfull career---climbed the ladder, had the car, the money, the whole thing," she said. "And whe I got there i was like, 'Is this what I thought I wanted"? "This is me coming back tom yself and what my passion is, and I'm really blessed to be bale to follow my passion".
Music has always been a part of Rowan's life. She played the piano as a child, and has takent singing lessons for the majority of her life. She picked up the acoustic guitar four years ago.
"I needed a new inspiration to start writing again," she said.
She was an English major in college and said that writing was always a major passion for her.
Rowan describes herm usic as "definitely singer-songwriter with kind of a folky flair. You know, all my songs tell a story."
These stories are true-to-life as well. "It's kind of about everything I've experienced over the alst 10 years--death, love, loss, birth, marriage," she said. It's about real life stuff that I think, I hope, other people can relate to.
She said that some of her influences include Shawn Colvin, Jewel and The Beatles.
Rowan admitted that it can be hard to maintain the equilibrium between her home life and her musical pursuits. "It's definitely a fine balance, she said. "When the kids were smaller I could really just write--I didn't got out and do gigs or anything. I only really started doing that over the last year and a half or so, and now that they're getting a little older it becomes a little easier".
"I wear many hats. I'm a wife, I'm a mom, I'm a preschool teacher. I'm the laudry persona nd the dinner-maker", Rowan said. "A lot of my mom friends looked at me when I came out with the CD, and they were like how did you ever find the time to do this?" and, you know, that is a good question".
Aside from her music geared towards adults, Rowan also started a business called little listeners.S he teaches music at preschools int he area and also performs concerts for kids. Two of her songs will be reatured in an upcoming children's video titled "Peek-a-boo Baby", a video which both of her daughters Lily and Amelia, wll be appearing in.
rowan said that she would like to record a CD of children's songs next. "It's kind of a natural for me. I mean, I'm here in the thick of the kids thing anyway". She is having a CD release party on June 29 at the Parish Center for Arts in Westford.
Carrie said that she is thrilled to hav released a CD. She recalled going to coffeehouses to see other artists perform. "Every time I would see one of these people play I'd be like, 'I wanna do that. I know I can do that," she said. It's amazing really. I look at that CD and I feel like it's my heart wrapped up in this little jewel case with cellophane around it," she said. "It's like my whole life for the last 10 years. it feels amazing to be able to follow my dream and my passion and I feel very blessed."
Kendall Hatch - Villager
Imagine swinging open a wooden gate and allowing it to click behind you as you wade through a meadow of wild flowers. The sun is low in the sky but still strong. A perfect early evening in some idyll...probably Massachusetts. A path has been cut by other footsteps and it leads you through the grasses and the heady scents to the front porch of someone else's memory...and you are almost breathless with elation. A feeling that you too are almost home. Welcome to Carrie's place.
I, like many other friends had waited with anticipation for this album. Carrie is great at sharing. She always has a kind word, a joke or an encouraging nudge in the right direction. Just visit her space and you will know what I mean. The beautifully presented C.D arrived at my house early last week and since then it has been playing constantly as I go about my daily routine.
This listener believes in albums! I think that the artist should spend sleepless nights fretting about the perfect order of the tracks allowing the audience to experience some journey, a logical beginning middle and end perhaps. The whole may then be some summation of perhaps years of experience and understanding. I know one thing for certain after many listens, the album explores so much and bravely faces its own ending.
One of the things that hit me almost immediately was the way Carrie spares so many of her great lines to live outside the chorus. In fact her lyrics stand equal to many. Perhaps they appeal because they are drawn from hard learned lessons in life, they are universal, allowing us to acknowledge some similar moments in our own lives and love affairs.
"I can only bear to think of you as mine".
"Maybe if I hold you just a little longer".
"Your hands move across my skin like a dance."
And surely we have all thought...
"why don't you look at me like that anymore?"
And the utter helplessness of...
"I didn't mean to love you."
There is a maturity to Carries songs. We live and therefore we learn. After all, experience is sometimes what we get instead of what we wanted. Carries album is at times a testimony to this. That with maturity we gain only enough wisdom to allow us a few precious moments of grace.
And there are also wonderful surprises, changes of mood. "Fill me up Solitude" makes me smile and perhaps it shouldn't, but every time I hear it I want to sit in with and share the joy of the musicians involved. ( I am definitely going to try and learn that song! )
And then there is "Anyway" with the helplessness I referred to earlier "...but I loved you anyway". On this track, Carries vocals soar, catching the updraft and rising perfectly with the emotions contained in this marvellous vignette. A story told a million times and yet so personal in spite of this.
It is perfectly appropriate that I cannot pick a favourite, but listening to the album again this morning I became mesmerised by the arrangement on "Never Grow Old" The song is poignant, raw emotion bravely faced. For me, the acoustic guitar repeats so perfectly, circling around the body of the song like a ballerina on a music box. A little beauty coming from great pain.
And to the closing track. I remind myself that the album is called Almost Home. I understand by now that we are talking of endings. The concluding steps in so many of life's emotional journeys.
"Your Hands" a song I wish I had written.
Thank you Carrie for sharing the last steps on your journey home. Kind regards always, Chris X
Christopher Hardin - Freelance Writer's Review