Vanessa Carlton: Rabbits on the Run

Vanessa Carlton
Rabbits on the Run
(Razor & Tie)

Rabbits on The Run feels like singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton’s coming of age album, despite being her fourth.

Though “coming of age” is often associated with adolescence and the beginning of adulthood, women find themselves reaching a more significant “coming of age” at 30.  Almost a magic number for women, it is a time of truly finding oneself and leaving behind the insecurities of the teens and twenties.

At 31, Carlton, best known for her hit “A Thousand Miles,” has created an artistic masterpiece in Rabbits on the Run.  The singer/songwriter took complete control of the creation of the album.  She recorded live to analog tape at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in London.  The result is a warm, embracing, soulful sound, sonically standing apart from the digital recordings so prominent today.   She enlisted producer/engineer Steve Osborne, known for his production of the Doves, to create the ethereal and dreamy sound that defines the album.

Carlton harkens back to the classic songwriting of the 70’s.  Rabbits on the Run reminds this reviewer of Joni Mitchell’s Blue. The songs are expertly crafted and performed.

The album opens strongly with the first single “Carousel,” featuring a children’s choir to complete the sonic picture.  It’s evident from the opening phrases of the song that Rabbits on the Run is a musical journey.

Every track is a prize on this album and each taking the listener through Carlton’s musical introspection.  Her crowning moment is “Tall Tales for Spring,” Carlton’s meaning of life opus.

It’s interesting that when an artist reaches a point of genius there is often a mention of getting one’s self out of the way.

“I felt like I wasn’t navigating, but the time was navigating me,” says Vanessa Carlton in her biography. “I wasn’t manipulating the process at all. I got to that place where you don’t think about how you’re going to do it, you just do it in the way that feels the most clear and right. That shouldn’t be so exotic, but I’d never gone through it before.”

Rabbits on the Run should secure Carlton’s place among the great female singer/songwriters, names like Joni Mitchell and Stevie Nicks.