CD Review: Carly Jamison “Everything Happens for a Reason”

Carly Jamison hails from New York City where she started grabbing people’s attention a few years ago posting her songs on the Internet using the moniker A Girl and A Guitar. The first thing that grabs your attention is Carly’s deep alto voice. That deep register gives her voice a sultry, even sexy quality to it. When you take that alto voice and combine it with Jamison’s guitar playing, it’s hard to ignore her ability as a musician.
In 2010, Carly Jamison released her first studio album, Everything Happens for a Reason. The album was produced in Nashville with an all-star cast of characters. Among them were album producer and bassist for the release Tres Sasser, former Georgia Satellite Dan Baird on guitars, and well-known studio and touring drummer Keith Brogdon. Together with Vance Powell and Richard Dodd who helped mix and engineer the album, the entire group of artists (which included Jamison, as she plays acoustic guitar) filled out Jamison’s sound. Carly created her music with just an acoustic guitar; but with the musicians assembled for the project, her music now has real depth to it.
While most music today is created in the studio laying down one track at a time, Carly Jamison’s Everything Happens for a Reason was created the old-fashioned way: The band played the songs together and then overdubs were added. This ensemble way of recording gives the songs warmth not found in much of the music that is released today.
The music on Everything Happens for a Reason by Carly Jamison combines elements of country, blues, as well as rock into one style that seems to complement Jamison’s writing style. Taking these styles to create the music also gives Jamison’s songs a little variety in the way they feel and the way they sound.
Right from the first track, you can tell the power of the lyrics written by Carly Jamison. On the album’s first track of “Bring It On,” Jamison gives the impression that she will not take anything laying down. The power of the lyrics is matched by the solid rock music produced by the musicians who helped create the album.
The guitar of Dan Baird gives just a hint of country flavor to the song “Doubt”. This track also prominently features Jamison’s talent on the acoustic guitar for the first time on the album.
With the track “Ask Me If I Give a Sh–,” the power of Jamison’s lyrics really shine through. While the lyrics are all Jamison’s, the music has a feeling that is somewhat reminiscent of the song “All Over Now” by The Rolling Stones.
“The One With You” could easily be the song with the most commercial appeal to it. The lyrics lend themselves to being arranged for a male/female duet single. The song also has enough of a twang that you can almost hear a “crossover” possibility to the song. The beginning 20-second “concerto” created by engineer David Henry adds a nice touch to the start of the track; although, the concerto should also have been incorporated into the rest of the song as well.
The album picks up with “Look Where It’s Coming From”. The track starts off with a strong drumbeat provided by Keith Brogdon and then picks up speed. One of the strongest songs on the album, it contains one of the heaviest guitar solos by Dan Baird on the entire release. The song also contains one of the best messages in music today.
If any song on Everything Happens for a Reason by Carly Jamison screams “hit single,” it would probably be “No Control Anymore”. It’s the perfect length for radio airplay, the music is strong, and the lyrics in the chorus are simple enough and infectious enough to sing along with.
“This Big Old Bottle” is another song on the album that is very strong. The track features a rockabilly flavor to the music that could easily remind you of Carl Perkins.
Carly Jamison’s release of Everything Happens for a Reason finishes up with the ballad “Dreaming”. “Dreaming” is a song about a lost love. The track perfectly ends the album on a gentle and emotional note.
From her time as A Girl and Her Guitar until today, Carly Jamison has made a lot of strides as a musician. And her new album of Everything Happens for a Reason proves she is one singer-songwriter that deserves to be heard.