A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Ricky Fanté & Carbon Leaf.
Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.
SO FINE YOU BLOW MY MIND: With the raw, gritty sound of Muscle Shoals soul, it's hard to imagine that Ricky Fanté's "Rewind" wasn't recorded along the Tennessee River 40 years ago.
The 26-year-old Washington, D.C., native's Virgin debut sidesteps current multi-collaborative R&B/hip-hop fare in favor of a stripped-down vintage soul sound. The set bows this week at No. 8 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, No. 18 on the Top Internet Albums list and No. 198 on The Billboard 200.
Co-written with Norah Jones collaborator Jesse Harris, the 12-track record shows Fanté convincingly channeling Percy Sledge's quavering vocals on songs like the string-based "A Woman's Touch," and moving into the bouncy soul of Motown with the more stylized "Oh Yeah."
The former messenger was performing as part of funk duo Soul Surfers on Los Angeles beaches before he signed with Virgin and released the four song EP "Introducing...Ricky Fanté" in 2003.
His first single "It Ain't Easy (On Your Own)" continues to climb this week (39-36) on Billboard's R&B Adult Airplay chart. Both VH1 and BET are currently playing the video and soul veteran Isaac Hayes collaborates with Fanté on an as-yet-unreleased remix of the track.
Fanté landed a slot on Park City, Utah's Sundance Film Festival live music bill early this year and performs tonight (July 27) on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."
Artist site: rickyfante.net
Label site: virginrecords.com
CARBON DATING: After five self-released efforts, Celtic roots rock act Carbon Leaf hit the Billboard charts this week with its Vanguard debut, "Indian Summer."
The group of Richmond, Va., natives came together in college in 1997 and began recording on their own label, Constant Ivy. Original members Barry Privett (vocalist), Carter Gravatt (guitarist), Scott Milstead (drummer) and Terry Clark (guitarist) released their studio debut "Shadows in the Banquet Hall" and 1999's "Ether-Electrified Porch Music" followed with the arrival of current bassist Jordan Medas.
An amalgam of influences ranging from classic rock to jazz to bluegrass, "Indian Summer" is the fruition of many years on the East Coast college and small club circuit. Privett writes most of the melodies and vocals, which -- aside from guitar and drums -- are rounded out with the eclectic vibe of the cajon and mandolin.
As "Indian Summer" bows at No. 12 on Billboard's Top Internet Albums chart and No. 53 on the Top Independent Albums chart, first single "Life Less Ordinary" is chart-bound at triple-A radio. The group is seeing the nation on a small club tour, dates for which can be found at its official Web site.
Artist site: carbonleaf.com
Label site: vanguardrecords.com