LA Examiner November

Eileen Carey: Girls Rock!

Eileen Carey is a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and musician. Her most recent album, Movin On, won Americana Album of the Year at the 2009 Los Angeles Music Awards. Just who is the up-and-comer Carey?

For the answer to that, we must travel back through the mists of time. Carey’s career in the entertainment industry has its roots deep in the past. Carey has been exposed to music since she was a child growing up in Ohio.

Carey began her music education at age 8 when she received a drum kit for a present. She became “an accomplished drummer” by age 13. All through high school she performed at various family and school events although the warm receptions she received only served to reinforce a feeling she had that her small-town environment was holding her back. In the late 1980s she would leave her friends and family behind and move to California.

It would be there that her life would go through some major changes. She would marry, start a family and even begin her studies of acting, film and theater. Struggling through countless casting calls, Carey captured a role as one of “the original ‘Uh-Huh Girls’” backing Ray Charles in a national Pepsi advertising campaign and Super Bowl performance. She also got gigs in the major motion pictures: Hoffa, Basic Instinct and the Keaton-Nicholson Batman.

Scoring those roles only served to urge her to score her songs as the need to make music once more took center stage. She once again drew on her old muses–Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, The Beatles, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, songwriter Diane Warren and major Motown artists–and took pen to paper to focus on writing and performing her own, original material. She began by playing intimate venues, local clubs and regional music festivals.

Carey soon began recording and as the new millennium began she released her 2000 debut disc an EP entitled That Town. This would only include 3 folk rock or country pop cuts: “Wings”, the title track “That Town”—which somehow sounds as if it was one of her earliest songs–and “Lazy”.

Two years later Carey released the rockin’ “That Town” the single and more importantly her next CD titled Possibilities. This one featured only 9 tracks including the parenthetically-placed “Joey” and the original “Bad Boy” (not to be confused with the 1984 Paul McCartney track of the same name.)

In between live performances and everyday life Carey continued to write and record. In 2005 she would release Hearts Of Time. The album included 10 tracks including the lead-in “Hearts Of Time” and other contemporary country cuts such as “Hollywood” and an encore of “Lazy”.

Carey says one of the best experiences of her career was “receiving a great review . . . from Music Connection and Nashville Music Guide.” The next year she released her single “Walking After Midnight”. 2007 witnessed Carey’s cuts being added to Tennessee T-Cakes’ music selections available for inclusion in their gift baskets.

In fact, Carey contributed cuts to several compilations since the start of her career including charity projects. She’s been especially active with causes such as Operation Gratitude, Worldfest, FemMuse, Team Diabetes, Indie Music for Life and Angels Among Us for which she was selected as Top Sponsor.

2008 would be the best year yet for Carey as she would release her most recent work, Movin On. As per usual, Carey, unlike some contemporaries, pays tribute to obvious influences without directly imitating them. The album opens with the “sounds like a single” Keith Urban penned piece “That Was Her This Is Now”.

It’s ironic that this song (co-written by Vernon Rust and Urban) is the first in a number of songs that seem to come from a woman’s viewpoint. While some critics claim cuts are crammed with assertive females it no doubt is simply the result of a prevalent female perspective which no doubt flows more easily out of Carey than a male point of view. (We writers write what we know, folks.)

The second selection is “What Goes Around Comes Around”. It’s an upbeat song co-written with guitarist JohnMcDuffie. It’s followed by the (almost) title track “Moving On” which moves on to the next number, “Stand”. “Stand” is perhaps one of the disc’s hidden hits in terms of overall quality.

The bold “Do I Dare” is yet one more example of Carey’s versatile talents as a performer. One of the best tracks on the album, however, soon eclipses this one. Indeed, “He’s Not Mr. Right He’s Mr. Right Now” has convinced your crusty chronicler to put an end to all the drinking and partying.

After all, this song was clearly written about cutie Carey’s experience with your randy, rockin’ writer and yet yours truly has no memory of even one of the moments this song obviously implies we must have shared. This song is obviously your playful penman’s theme song. Calling this cut the “Critic’s Choice”, however, would be so vain.

Therefore, the honor must fall to the more obvious choice–“Out With The Girls”. While we’ve already heard Dolly Parton do this kind of thing decades ago with “9 To 5”, Carey somehow still makes it work with her own personal tuneful twist. It has an upbeat tempo—all-girl tune—or not it’s catchy. (In 2009 Carey put out a dance remix which could be headed for “The Land of Multiple Replays”.) This one even scored Producer’s Choice Dance Single Of The Year in 2010 at the L.A. Music Awards.

“Faith” follows. It’s a bit more of a low key track that is somehow vaguely reminiscent of Hynde. Carey believes that it is important to have “faith in your ability and the willingness to seek out opportunities and take chances”—a message that can be found in much of her music.

The album closes with “Newsflash” which could be a musical message—a notification from Carey—perhaps a foreshadowing of something more. Indeed, Carey’s cuts could be catching on as her Movin On album took the Americana Album of the Year at the 2009 Los Angeles Music Awards. Her 2009 single release of “That Was Her This Is Now” scored “Song of the Year” at the 2009 South Bay Music Awards.

While women may appear be a target audience to some critics there is a bigger picture to see here. Yes, the “Out With The Girls” dance remix is a hit with women everywhere and has even been nominated for “Dance Song of the Year” at the 20th Annual Los Angeles Music Awards. Still, other songs are receiving airplay the world over in such countries as the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, Sweden and even Serbia.

There is more to the music here than tired, one-track feminism. Carey seems to be a singer with a lot to say and to more than just overworked women and other troubled tootsies. This brassy babe’s belief of enjoying the moment without stressing over the future is a message significant to any audience. “Newsflash”, folks: Eileen Carey is indeed “Moving On” . . . to bigger and better things.

My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.