By the time he was 15, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Carter Tanton was already playing bar shows in his hometown of Baltimore. Two years later, he caught the attention of Gary E. Smith, best known for discovering and producing The Pixies. After working together for a year, they parted ways, but Tanton never slowed down. In the mid-2000's he released a couple of EPs with his band Tulsa, prompting Rolling Stone's David Fricke to claim “…his indie-seraphim voice is not of this world…”, and after a particularly impressive live set KEXP's John Richards said “…he's one of the best singer-songwriters in the country today.”
Over the years, Tanton has toured and recorded with numerous artists including Marissa Nadler, Strand of Oaks, Lower Dens, and The War on Drugs. In 2012, he assembled Freeclouds, his first collection of songs for Western Vinyl. A couple of years later, Tanton moved to England where he wrote all of the songs on his new album Jettison the Valley. His old friend and collaborator Marisa Nadler contributes lead vocals to “Jettison the Valley”, and Sharon Van Etten sings on “Twenty-Nine Palms” and “Through the Garden Gates”.
...his indie-seraphim voice is not of this world — set in the same alpine reverb where Jim James of My Morning Jacket lives — while the iridescent bloom of the guitars is a quality flashback to the clean-twang and country-fuzz blend of the 1968-69 Byrds.
Watching him, I honestly believed he was lip-synching as he played, because I just couldn't believe this powerful, forlorn voice was coming out of this slight, unassuming body. He flew through three emotional covers by The Carter Family, The Kinks, and Townes Van Zandt....Carter then introduced his fourth song as a new one — so new that he hadn't even titled it yet....This is the one that really confirmed for me that he's one of the best singer-songwriters in the country today. It was a beautiful song, fittingly about the morning, one that I knew immediately we'd be getting tons of requests to hear again. Then he closed the set...in the same sorrowful voice that just floored me...
Lead singer Carter Tanton has a spectacular voice, and he uses it to the fullest, with long, plunging held notes, wordless accents, and a self-harmonizing technique that lends weightlessness to some of his best melodic phrases. His voice, as much as the songwriting, makes these songs memorable and gives them an ageless quality. Though Tanton could probably sing a recipe for chocolate éclairs and still make it sound good.
He was sleeping in his parents’ basement, playing every instrument, going through this breakup,...That was the first time I saw someone make music obsessively. I’d never seen anyone living inside of something, to that level.