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Carbon Leaf is a five-piece rock band from Richmond, Virginiamarker that is known for their Celtic / Bluegrass rock that was featured more prominently on their early releases on their own label, Constant Ivy Music. Their more recent albums, since signing to Vanguard Records, are more mainstream rock, though they still retain the influences of their Virginian music scene roots.

Band members

Former band members

  • Palmer Stearns: Bass
  • Scott Milstead: Drums, percussion, vocals
  • Brian Durrett: Bass
  • Jordan Medas: Electric bass, bowed and double bass, vocals

1992-2004: The Constant Ivy Music Years

Barry Privett
Carbon Leaf got their start at Randolph-Macon Collegemarker in Virginiamarker in 1992 practicing in an auditorium on campus. Their next step was playing backyard parties, mixers, fraternity, and sorority parties. Shortly after everyone graduated they moved to Richmond, Virginiamarker. From Richmond, they played the college circuit in Virginia and up the East Coast before moving on to clubs. Their style is not "Brazilian Polka Metal", despite the joking claims of guitarist Carter Gravatt (B., David. 2002).

Meander, their first album, was released in 1995. The first songs Carbon Leaf wrote, including "One Day" and "Country Monkee" are on the album.

Shadows in the Banquet Hall, released in 1997, includes "Flood," "Wolftrap and Fireflies," and "Attica's Flower Box Window." An award winning video was made for "Flood."

Ether~Electrified Porch Music (1999) is the first album with Jordan Medas as the bassist and contains "Home" and "American Tale." The band had sold over 10000 copies of their first three independent CDs by late 1999, released on their own label, Constant Ivy Music.

Echo Echo was released in 2001 with "The Boxer" as the first track. In January 2002 Carbon Leaf won the first-ever American Music Awards Presents the Coca-Cola New Music Award for "The Boxer." As part of winning they performed "The Boxer" live on the AMAs, becoming the first unsigned band to perform at the awards show. Following this appearance, "The Boxer" entered regular rotation on radio stations including Washington, DCmarker's DC101 (WWDC 101.1 FM). In May 2002 the band members gave up their day jobs in order to dedicate more time to the band and touring. They also contributed the hidden bonus track "Dear" from their Echo Echo CD to the soundtrack of the Kevin Hershberger Civil War drama "Wicked Spring".

In January 2003 Carbon Leaf gave permission for fan-made recordings of their concerts to be included in the Live Music Archive, a part of the Internet Archivemarker. Various concerts are available from 2000 to present in lossless formats SHN or FLAC and the lossy format VBR MP3, with the majority coming from the years 2002 - 2004. 5 Alive!, Carbon Leaf's first live album, was released in the summer of 2003. The album was recorded over five concerts during the autmn and winter of 2002 with the track list assembled to match a concert playlist.

In September, 2003, Carbon Leaf won the Pontiac Vibe Summer Sound off resulting in "The Boxer" being played in Pontiac Vibe commercials on MTV and VH1.

2004-Present: The Vanguard Records Years

In Spring 2004, Carbon Leaf signed with Vanguard Records, part of the Welk Music Group and in July of that year released their first album on a major label, Indian Summer. "Life Less Ordinary" rose to number 5 on the Adult Album Alternative charts and 29 on the Hot AC Charts. Carbon Leaf performed "Life Less Ordinary" on the November 30, 2004 episode of The Dr. Phil Show. "What About Everything?" rose to 25 on the AAA charts. Indian Summer has been ranked in the top 10 by KMTT in Seattlemarker, and number 40 out of the Top 50 Albums of 2004 by WXPN in Philadelphiamarker. The album was produced by John Morand and David Lowery. The video for "Life Less Ordinary" debuted on January 5, 2005.

In June 2006, an interview with Carbon Leaf guitarist Terry Clark was chosen as the cover feature for the inaugural issue of The Green Room magazine. On September 12, 2006, the band released Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat. According to their blog, it was recorded in Nashville, Tennesseemarker, and mixed in collaboration with producer Peter Collins and Trina Shoemaker. The title track was featured in the October 30, 2006 episode of ABC's What About Brian. Tom McCormack began touring with Carbon Leaf, playing keys and accordion.

In memory of the lives lost in the Virginia Tech shootingsmarker, Carbon Leaf played at Sudflood 2007. All proceeds went towards the memorial fund for the victims and their families.

In August 2007, Scott Milstead was replaced by Jason Neal on drums. In August 2008, Jordan Medas left the band to pursue a teaching career. He was replaced in October 2008 by Jon Markel. .

The band released their seventh studio album, Nothing Rhymes with Woman, on May 19, 2009. They have also stated in their shows that they will be contributing several songs to the soundtrack to the film Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey!, including a version of Life Less Ordinary with new lyrics. On June 30, 2009 Carbon Leaf was the featured band at Red Rocksmarker' Film On The Rocks

Carbon Leaf has opened for many acts, including Dave Matthews Band, Something Corporate, O.A.R., and David Gray, and have toured with Jason Mraz,Blues Traveler, Great Big Sea, Jump, Little Children, Matt Nathanson, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, The Avett Brothers, and Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers.


Studio albums

Year Album details Peak positions
US US Rock US Heat US Indie
1995 Meander
  • Released: January 1, 1995
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
1997 Shadows in the Banquet Hall
  • Released: October 1, 1997
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
1999 Ether~Electrified Porch Music
  • Released: November 1, 1999
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2001 Echo Echo
  • Released: March 31, 2001
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
2004 Indian Summer
2006 Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat
  • Released: September 12, 2006
  • Label: Vanguard Records
170 3 12
2009 Nothing Rhymes with Woman
  • Released: May 19, 2009
  • Label: Vanguard Records
136 41 3
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Live Albums

Year Album details Peak positions
US US Rock US Heat US Indie
2003 5 Alive!
  • Released: August 12, 2003
  • Label: Constant Ivy Music
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Title Label Chart
2001 I Know The Reason Constant Ivy Music -
The Boxer Constant Ivy Music -
2004 Life Less Ordinary Vanguard Records -
2005 What About Everything Vanguard Records -
Let Your Troubles Roll By Vanguard Records -
2006 Learn To Fly Vanguard Records -
2007 Comfort Vanguard Records -
2009 Miss Hollywood Vanguard Records -




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