Provocative, sexy and unafraid are all adjectives that describe Carsie Blanton. This edgy songstress (who currently resides in New Orleans) and her music both ooze with sensuality that is raw, bold and definitely unapologetic.
“I think that I have a rebellious nature and it’s always bothered me that people aren’t more willing to talk about sex, especially female sexuality,” says Blanton, who will perform at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York on April 10, and Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia on April 12. “I think I talk about sex for the same reason that I talk about radical politics: because nobody else is talking about it.”
Rest assured, there is nobody else like Carsie Blanton.
February saw her release a new album: Buck Up, a 10-track collection. It’s her seventh studio release and her third with The Figgs bassist Pete Donnelly producing.
“There’s a familiar cast of characters on there, and also my whole band,” she said. “There are a few themes: It definitely has more of a political theme than the previous albums. I am pretty far left on the political spectrum, which I think is fairly obvious from the writing, so the election of Trump was not a great moment in my life. It was a dark time for me and, I think, for a lot of people and the country, in many ways. So a lot of these songs are exploring the darker side of all of that, and sort of how I think of America and being American and being a person in the world at this time.
“My music has always been more about playfulness, pleasure and joy, and so I’ve tried to put those ideas through a lens of playfulness and fun and sexiness so that it’s a little easier to swallow.
She recorded Buck Up — like her last album, So Ferocious — at Donnelly’s home studio in South Jersey.
“We just have a really good working relationship,” she said. “It’s not every day that you get a really good creative collaboration, and I think I’ve found that with Pete, so I think I’ve kind of found a home for recording albums.”
Blanton also has a very visual side and has released many videos over the course of her career; her two most recent, from Buck Up, epitomize her essence. She chuckled a bit when asked about the symbolism and not-so-veiled sexual references in her work — particularly in this case with “Jacket” (see video below) — and how she found participants willing to be as open as she.
“My videos are always pretty creative and we always have a lot of fun with them, so I think at this point it’s easy to find people who want to come party with us,” she said with a laugh. ” ‘ Jacket’ … obviously there’s a few different women in the video who are sort of touching fruit suggestively, and we found them just through casting on Facebook. They have all different backgrounds. One is a burlesque dancer, so she was used to being in that context publicly. But another was an elementary school teacher.
“The roller skating … he was a guy called Bobby Bonsey, who is sort of a breakdancer on roller skates and has been in a few of my videos. He helped us find all the other incredible dancers; they were all at a skate night on the West Bank of New Orleans called “Skate Country,” so it was easy.”
A native of Virginia who left home at an early age, Blanton has bopped all around the globe making music. Before making the move to Louisiana, she had been in the Philadelphia area, and although she flourished there, she finds her current digs a bit more nurturing.
“I would say that I’m getting more prolific all of the time and I think that the move has been part of that,” she said. “I feel like I’ve written more and made more creative projects since I moved here. Nothing against Philly, but I do think that this city has something really special in being a safe haven for creativity and eccentricity of all kinds, and also for music in particular.”
Music isn’t all she has on her plate. A while ago she created, marketed and distributed a card game based on one of her favorite subjects: sex.
“The game is called The F’ing Truth,” she said. “It’s a talking-about-sex game and I invented it and released it through Kickstarter a little over a year ago. Now it’s for sale in Urban Outfitters in around like 100 stores. I’m hoping that they’ll put in another order for an even bigger run, but I’m happy that it’s on the shelves there.”
As stated, Blanton is a tireless creator, performer and songwriter who seems to always have something up her sleeves. So what’s in store after this tour is in the books?
“I’m already working on the next album, but it will be at least a year until I get back in the studio. I’ve got some songs a-brewin’. I have two more videos that are almost done — one for the song ‘Bed’ and one for the song ‘Desire’ — and possibly another one after that.
“I’ve always wanted to do a music video based on an old Hollywood musical, like the dance numbers in ‘West Side Story.’ That’s my dream, but I haven’t come up with the budget for it yet. But maybe I’ll find it over the next couple of months” (laughs).
For more about Blanton, visit carsieblanton.com.