We had the good fortune of connecting with Barb Carbon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barb, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Authenticity. I grew up listening to the indigo girls, and you can hear their influence in my musical style and in my lyrics, but I think above all what I have taken from observing how they operate is that being real, being true to yourself and what you believe in, will reach people in a way that no amount of fancy guitar work or intricate lyricism can. Of course, some level of mastery is necessary, and weaving intricate harmonies doesn’t hurt at all, but if you want to really connect with your audience, if you want to create a loyal following, sing your truth to people. They will recognize themselves in your words and they will come back again and again like they’re headed to church.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My journey has been tough but magical. As I mentioned, I grew up listening to the Indigo Girls. I looked up to them. From a very early age I knew that I wanted to follow in their footsteps. For a while in my early 20’s I followed them kind of like some people used to follow The Grateful Dead. During that time I had a chance encounter waiting in line for a show on the Seattle pier and I met, and eventually ended up briefly living with, a young local artist from Sumner, Washington – Brandi Carlile. She’s a Grammy Award winning powerhouse now, but we were both kids, complete unknowns, back then and we just sat around the house writing music all day. That really jump started my passion for writing. Brandi was a phenom and sharing intellectual space with her pushed me to improve. I moved back to the East Coast and started playing small gigs here and there with little fanfare. Then in 2009, by chance, I met and was hired as a roadie for one of my heroes, Michelle Malone. That time on the road taught me what it meant to be a real working musician. I saw the backside of the job – the planning, the promotion, the merchandising, the enormous amount of work. After 3 years, I left that position and returned to Atlanta with a lot more knowledge and confidence. I reconnected with my old friend, Arrie Bozeman, and we formed our band, The Ain’t Sisters. Arrie is a tremendous guitarist and songwriter, and together we have built a solid catalogue of original material that seems to be a fan favorite, regionally. Our ascent was fairly quick. We have been a band since 2012 and we have been a core Atlanta staple since 2015 or so. We have built our brand around authenticity, almost to the extreme. We write songs that are deeply personal and others that are completely ridiculous and funny. We rock hard when it suits us and we can take it town to 2 guitars and harmonies when the song calls for that. We are all over the map because, as humans, we are diverse and scatterbrained, just like everyone. And that, I believe, is why we appeal to such a large audience. We’re honest and we have something for everyone.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Man, I’ve been in this town so long I could list 1,000 places, but if I had to narrow it down, I would say: definitely a hike up and around Stone Mountain, late night pho at Pho 24 in Chamblee, my bass player’s backyard for Sunday night flow and play (a mini local Burning Man related event), food and drinks and live music along the west side beltline at Best End Brewery, a shopping trip to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market, a bike ride on the beltline, and some campfire jams at my friend’s houses – we truly have some of the very best players on the scene, and our jam sessions are pure magic. Oh, and at some point we’d need tiny, delicious sammys and Jack and Coke slushees from Victory Sandwich Bar.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This one is tough because I have had so much incredible support throughout my career and have been influenced by so many people, but no one has lifted me up, pushed me forward, and inspired me as much as my musical partner and best friend, Arrie Bozeman. So, yeah, Arrie, this one’s for you. I love ya.
Amanda Gardner Tom Kettles Frank Serio
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.