Artist Spotlight- Vanessa Carlton



Remember her? 1,000 Miles, White Houses, Ordinary Day- all great songs I vividly remember jamming out to in my middle school days. I saw Vanessa Carlton live last week at The Newton Theater (an old movie theater) in Newton, NJ. Although I went into the show expecting to hear a few familiar songs and a bunch of similar sounding- ok ones, I ended up really enjoying Carlton’s performance. 

The show was pretty low key with just Carlton, her piano and a Violinist up on stage for most of the night. As titled, “An Evening with Vanessa Carlton,” that’s exactly what it felt like. Super personal, up close, intimate, candles lit and small talk between songs. Her talks were personal and relatable, it felt like you were having a conversation with her, even though you weren’t speaking back. It was a really cool experience, unlike many concerts I’ve been to, even those where I felt close to the band. Carlton made a few mistakes, mixing up her songs but it revealed her super down to earth and funny personality. 

The music itself was great- she’s a great singer and better piano player. The only other accompanying instrument was a violin, which added so much to the performance. Her newer stuff reflected her current stage in life- marriage, friend contemplating divorce, advice for her little brother, etc. It was interesting to hear the change in lyrics but with a similar sound. Honestly, I’m more a fan of the older lyrics (some of the newer stuff started mixing together and sounded the same) but still liked every bit of the performance. The show was weirdly relaxing, I just wanted her to keep playing, following me around for the rest of the night. 

After the intermission she played some of her big hits and had a surprise guest come up on stage- her husband. John McCauley, also known for his band Deer Tick. They sang an interesting (a little boring) country-esque duet. I kind of just wanted her to go back to her solo performance.  

I went into the show not expecting much at all and left pleasantly surprised. Definitely throw it back to the good old days, but make sure to check out the new stuff as well ->