Edie Carey didn’t set out to be a musician. She planned to go to med school, but life had other plans. While a student at Barnard College, she found a coffee shop where artists like Jeff Buckley and Ani DiFranco performed unplugged shows. Around the same time, she studied Italian and eventually went to Bologna for a year where she learned guitar and performed as a busker in the city’s main piazza. Her time as a busker gave her the confidence to begin performing when she returned to Barnard.
Her debut album The Falling Places is pretty much a folk album centered around vocals and acoustic guitar. From there, she settled into more of a pop sound, which she has carried through to her new album The Veil.
It doesn’t take long to realize that Carey’s voice is perfect for hushed melodies. Certainly, she has shown evidence of this, like on her album of duets with Sarah Sample entitled ‘Til the Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort. “The Veil” is the opening title track, and fittingly comes across as a sort of lullaby as she sings about being carried to bed by her dad. The acoustic guitar adds to the lullaby feel while the electric guitar has the jangly sound of 90s rock.
“I Know This” is a based around piano and strings and is reminiscent of Tori Amos. The arrangement is as beautiful as the story Carey tells. She sings softly about how her baby girl looks up at her from the living room floor and how she would like to pick her daughter up, but instead has to leave. There is some poetry to the fact that she sings “I just hope I’m not made out of glass” in such a delicate voice.
“Accidental Poets” showcases her ability to create vivid pictures with her words as a poet, but there isn’t anything accidental about it. It’s pretty clear that she chooses her words carefully. She has a way of writing lyrics that reach right into your soul. For example, at the beginning of “The Day You Were Born”, she sings “I never knew your mother. She’s been gone so long, and I’ll never get to thank her for giving me her son.”
Carey is also pretty good at creating a mood in her songs. “Georgia” is a fine example. She sings in a voice that is little more than a whisper while the melody is guided by the muted piano and swells of strings that inject some dramatic feeling into the song.
Even if a career in music wasn’t her original plan, this album makes it pretty clear that she made the right choice. She tells vivid stories of simple moments in life, and she does it in a way that you can’t help but feel something.