Amy Winehouse. Lily Allen. Jenny Lewis. All are media darlings. Despite any and all current public backlash, neither lady could release an album of humming in an aluminum coffee tin without the pundits all standing and cheering - the applause deafening.
Carrie Biell deserves this adoration more than any of them but will never ever get it. Why? Because:
a) She's not an outspoken, brash, possible drug (ab)user.
b) She's not a former actress hiding behind the talent of real musicians.
c) She's not British.
d) All of the above.
Ms. Biell is from Seattle, Washington. It rains at least two-hundred-and-fifty days out of the year in Seattle and When Your Feet Hit the Stars is its melancholy soundtrack. Quiet, pensive, and introspective. This is not her first album so why no one seems to know this woman's name is a damn shame. This kind of music is always hard to market - the term "acoustic" can lead one to assume "folk" which can lead one to assume "crap." Indie is too vague, and despite the beautiful use of pedal steel guitar and banjo, courtesy of Steve Norman - to pigeonhole it and call in "country" would be to do all involved a great disservice.
To describe Carrie's voice is difficult - despite hailing from the Pacific Northwest, there's a very distinct enunciated twang that can immediately remind one of Kristen Hersh (who she even bears a passing resemblance to), but with more of a breathy delivery (albeit somewhat deeper) more in the tone of Hope Sandoval or at times, Jennifer Charles. One hesitates to compare to these other artists as Carrie's voice is unique in its own right. Never deliberate and always understated whether it's the wistful "Cross the Line", the soulful smoky "Blackness Ain't the Thing" or the surprisingly up-tempo album closer "Bound to Be", Ms. Biell provides a fantastic late-night drive album that your passengers might not recognize, but will all be asking you about by journey's end.