Carla Ulbrich – Twang
This young lady occupies the musical geography singers like Ray Stevens & the late Roger Miller once did. Musicians who are serious & like Carla, walk the tightrope of humor in their countrified staging. This 8-song EP is Carla’s most country-oriented release. It maintains her wicked sense of humor & delectable bits of songwriting.
Carla (acoustic guitar) decorates her tunes with musicians who hot pick throughout. The majority of the musicians are award-winning performers. A solid mix of mid-tempo/upbeat songs, a waltz, an old Hank Williams parody, honky-tonk saloon songs, party tunes. Ms. Ulbrich covers all bases with contemporary confidence.
Bob Harris (lap steel/bass/mandolin) produced Twang (Drops March 1–Romantic Devil) & though some may have colorful language – so what? We’re all adults here.
Carla hits on subjects many can relate to. “(Is It) Hot Enough For Ya?” — an up-tempo descriptive clever country party tune with darn (not my first choice of words) good lyrics. And like the statement “that’s what she said,” (not in the song) everyone thinks they were the first to say it. But a good comeback or funny question is always a good opening line. Excellent rollicking fiddle, guitar, piano work gives the song jubilation. Many go through the gruel of an interview so the song “Interviewing Therapist,” touches upon how it would be if patients could prescreen a therapist in the same manner. Silly? Sure. Logical? That too.
Carla explores addiction, sings with attitude, touches on the adventures of an “extra” in a film/TV show, the struggles of staying sober in a waltz-like melody, reinvent a dusty Hank Williams song with lyrics adapted in Carla’s creative way.
Players: Rob Ickes (dobro), Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Bob Malone (piano/organ), Erik Halbig (guitars/mandolin/banjo), Steve Goodie (drums/bass), with background vocals: Lou Holtzman, Carla & Steve Goodie. Voice of Dr. Alexander by Jim Aycock on “20 Rats.”
Finally, if Loretta Lynn would sing an explicit song this would be it. “(Have You Tried) Not Bein’ a Dick.” A question many probably asked in a social setting. While not as bawdy as Lucille Bogan’s 1935 “Shave ‘em Dry,” Carla maintains a modicum of diplomacy. It plays like an up-tempo honky-tonk tune aimed squarely at anyone borderline obnoxious or a bully. This should become a saloon standard. It’s not as brash as Rusty Warren stuff but it’s in the tradition of the classic Holy Modal Rounders tune “(Gee, I Like) Boobs a Lot.”
Ms. Ulbrich’s an insightful diversified songwriter. She knows how to lay it out like a good catered party. But at this party – Carla’s brought her own booze. Bottoms up. (Nothing is implied or assumed).
Color image courtesy of Carla’s Twitter. The 23-minute CD available @ https://carlaulbrich.com/home