The Penny Collector
Carrie, who resides in Austin, Texas, first came to the attention of myself and many, when she toured over several years, with fellow Austinite Sam Baker. In fact, he is credited with helping to bring this album together.
The album is named for her father, a keen penny collector, who passed away a couple of years ago; a loss that is clearly still keenly felt by Elkin. In fact, when he passed, the family found over 600, 000 pennies which he had saved, unbeknownst to his family.
Produced by Neilson Hubbard (Ben Glover, The Worry Dolls), who also provides percussion, the album also features none other than Will Kimbrough on guitar.
Shortly after her father’s death, Elkin took a trip to Taos, New Mexico. It was on this trip that she discovered she and husband Danny Schmidt, were expecting their first baby. Her time in Taos was spent reflecting on the juxtaposition of loss and new life; the result of which is ten of eleven songs being her own. The one cover is of Paul Simon’s American Tune, an old favourite of hers which again seems very relevant to the world in which we find ourselves of late. have an intensity that draws the listener in forcing close attention. Always On The Run and My Brother Said tackle a similar theme from very different angles.
The beautiful Crying Out is a letter to herself and showcases perfectly her ability to get to the heart of the matter with her lyrics
not to mention her exquisite vocal range.
Tilt a Whirl is a reminiscence of a fairground trip with an older relative and perfectly encapsulates both the feelings of the ride and the way in which fear overtakes our desires as we get older.
I love the whole album, but there are two stand out tracks for me, which stand a strong risk of wearing out my CD. New Mexico, speaks of her time in Taos, of love and loss and death and life, of endings and new beginnings, of despair and hope. It is one of those rare songs which catches hold of me and simply refuses to let go. Just beautiful.
And Then The Birds Came, found its roots in a dream Carrie had about birds. They then b came a metaphor for both how her dad lived his life and how he left it. With the birds. The imagery is so simple, yet so powerful. In fact, I see some of him in her; as he helped the birds to fly, I believe she helps them to sing. One thing I do know is his spirit is very much alive in these beautiful songs and his legacy will live on through a beautiful tribute. It is a sad but touching irony that as some of us have met her mum at shows, we are now getting to meet this man through his daughter’s music. I think all who listen will consider that to be an honour.
The album draws to a close with Lamp Of The Body, which references the old hymn, This Little Light of Mine. A fitting conclusion in more ways than one. A subtle reference to there being light in the darkness of loss, a reference to the light of a new arrival, her Dad’s light shining on and above all, it is fitting as this CD is unarguably the highlight of her collection. An album which needs to be heard by everyone. I defy you not to be moved and awed.