Carsie Blanton wants to make us feel better

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“It’s been a long, strange few years,” says songwriter Carsie Blanton, “between the pandemic and other disasters, every day brings a new kind of anxiety. We need to find ways to remember who we are.

After keeping his band afloat throughout lockdown with live-streamed ‘Rent Parties’, going viral with a song commemorating John Prine (‘Fishin with You’) and releasing a critically acclaimed mid-pandemic album, 2021’s “Love and Rage” (“…fight fascism with big hooks and an even bigger heart” according to the American songwriter), Blanton may be the person to help us do just that.

“When you spend your time watching the news or social media, people seem cruel and stupid. But I think people from afar are good and want to take care of each other.

Yet Blanton’s songs are far from sweet. She’s not afraid of vulgarity or politics, and at a recent concert the audience laughed more often than they cried. Songs like “Shit List” and “Dealin’ with the Devil” have ridiculed neo-Nazis and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, respectively, while others border on slapstick.

Blanton and his impeccably dressed “Handsome Band” displayed a keen sense of music betraying a long tenure as live performers. Accompanied by Joe Plowman on double bass and Patrick Firth on Wurlitzer, her songs meandered from Americana and rock to cocktail jazz, Motown and Elvis-Costello-esque pop punk. Three-part harmonies thickened the trio’s sound, while kazoos lifted it. Blanton’s years in New Orleans could be heard not only musically, but also in his flair for the macabre. She grew up in Virginia and currently resides outside of Philadelphia.

Midway through the show, Blanton performed several solo songs, featuring the stripped-down arrangements featured on his upcoming album “Body of Work” (produced by Grammy-nominated Tyler Chester). Despite a bawdy humor and far-left political bent that some might find unsavory, the overwhelming message of Blanton’s live show was one of compassion and humanity. Its opener, “Be Good,” invites us to be more like Christ and MLK, while its encore, “All My Love,” was dedicated to the healthcare workers, social workers and teachers who have made us all drawn through the pandemic – and who are invited to attend its 2022 shows for free.

“We make music because it makes us feel better,” she said near the top of the set. “We share it because we also want you to feel better.”

Carsie and her band will appear on stage at the Boothbay Harbor Opera House on Sunday, June 5 at 7 p.m. Discounted tickets currently on sale at the box office at 86 Townsend Ave.+

Boothbay Harbor, or by calling 633-5159. Advance tickets $20. Regular tickets $25, available day of show and online at boothbayoperahouse.com. Seating doors open at 6:30 a.m. Refreshments available.

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