After several years in the music industry, East Village musician Candy John Carr has released a solo album that encompasses all of the styles of music he holds dear.
Carr got his start playing on albums of other musicians. A drummer at heart, one of his major contributions was to the albums of singer-songwriter Donovan, appearing on the cover of the 1970 album “Open Road.”
“I’m kind of part of that old hippie dream and flower power. Donovan was the prince of flower power. I started with him as a percussionist. As a musician, I picked up guitar but got more satisfaction out of percussion instruments,” recalled Carr. “Donovan’s rehearsals were like little jam sessions. He wrote a bunch of tunes for the album. It was my destiny at the time.”
Carr continued to explore music by going down several different paths. He tried several different genres, including jazz, reggae, rock and more to hone his sound.
He was surprised when he was approached to make an album of his own a few years ago.
“I was called in for a drum session for Justin Martell, who co-owns the label I’m with. He called me to do a session in Long Island City for a Tiny Tim album that ended up doing very well,” said Carr. “On the way over, Justin said, ‘Do you want to record an album?’ It took me by surprise. He said he had seen me perform live and just based it on that. I said sure, I’d love to do an album.”
Five years later, Carr released “The Candy John Album” amid the pandemic. The album, according to Carr, mixes a plethora of genres that have appealed to Carr over the years, including rock, acid rock, R&B, reggae and soul. The tunes on the album are also mixed lyrically, particularly the two singles, “Open Your Heart” and “Land of the Living Dead.”
“The songwriting goes between spreading a positive word and what’s troubling the planet. ‘Land of the Living Dead’ that sums up my feelings, while ‘Open Your Heart’ appeals to the positive and what people really want, which is truth and love, metaphorically, the heart signifies,” said Carr. “I try to speak from the heart, and when it comes to love, unless it’s the real feeling it’s just another exercise in living.”
Now that the album is out and restrictions have loosened in New York City, Carr is hoping to get back into performing live and potentially arrange some virtual shows in the meantime. Carr hopes that for now, the album can help put some positivity back into the world.
“Everyone knows the negative s–t that’s going down on an everyday level. I wish there was more ground for being kind to each other instead of being confrontational on the streets,” said Carr. “I just don’t want people to get used to it, that kind of friction.”
Carr hopes that those who take a listen to “The Candy John Album” can enjoy something a little bit different while taking away the positive messages that are interwoven into the songs.
“What I want [the listeners] to take away from it is hearing something that they might not have heard before in quite the same way. It’s done in an analog vinyl style, courtesy of Richard Barone, who produced the album,” said Carr. “Basically, I think most of the songs have a positive message. I hope that any listener would notice that and take away from listening, there’s still room for a positive outlook. This isn’t the end of everything, there’s a reason to go forward.”
You can find “The Candy John Album” on Amazon and on all streaming platforms.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.