Barton Carroll: Folk Singer

Barton Carroll. 9/21/06. The Green Bean, Greensboro, NC.

(c)2006 Rash Photo.
Thursday nights at the Green Bean are usually good nights to see friends and catch up on the latest Greensboro gossip while enjoying a half-priced coffee drink. Occasionally, this coffeehouse / part-time computer lab (thanks wi-fi) transforms into a venue for local and traveling musicians, which can be a double-edged sword. A planned evening of homework at the Bean can quickly go down hill on the unfortunate occasion of a bad indie rock band or jazz ensemble gigging on a weeknight. Weekends have a different vibe, and loud band scan usually get away with interrupting concentration and conversation. However, the typical coffehouse fare of singer/songwriter, bluegrass, and soft pop can function quite well as both entertainment and environmental backdrop. This past Thursday offered a pair of singer/songwriters who are both friends tightly knit into my life, but from different chapters. Nathan Tarr, playing under the name "Wood Ear", is a college friend and played a set of stripped down Replacements-esqe pop songs. This was his first show, and a good representation of tight friends from Greensboro turned out to support. The headlining act is my old high school buddy Barton Carroll, who has been living in Seattle, WA and playing in Crooked Fingers for the past few years. This is his first trip back to the East Coast on tour as a solo musician, and his set was more from a traditional folk influence. I wanted to document both performers, however due to problems with my strobe, I was only able to grab a few decent shots of Barton. What you see here is a representation of two different ideas I had in terms of capturing Barton. The color image purposely includes the checkered floor and the orange lights, but attempts to omit the remaining environment to give a dark feeling overall. The second image hugs in on the face, and actually came out surprisingly reminiscent of photos of Woody Guthrie that were used on the Asche Series CD collection (and on the cover of Joe Klien's biography). As a huge Guthrie fan, it was rewarding to see this turning out so close to those that are dear to my heart, however I'm not sure Barton would be completely comfortable being likend to Guthrie musically. His songs are certainly from a slightly different tradition, and this is way I wanted to experment with a few different ways of capturing his performance