"The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt," wrote Bertrand Russell, and a variation of that quote is (wrongly, I think) also attributed to Charles Bukowski. No matter who said it, the quote reminds me of Carly Garza.
For those who know her, the former drummer of Blue Means Go (and daughter of Terry Garza, bass player for the Mullberrys) is one of the best voices in town. Like her mother, she's a brilliant singer of harmonies (I saw her last backing Nicolette Good at the defunct Casbeers at the Church), but for a while she's been trying to develop as a singer-songwriter, even though she'd like to keep distant from the term itself.
"I don't want to be pigeonholed into the 'singer-songwriter' thing," she said. "All I know is that I'm finally beginning to hear my songs within a band format. We'll see."
The trouble is: every time she seems finally ready to explode, she takes a step back.
"There are days when I feel very ambitious and full of confidence, but the moment I get into a writing problem I get easily discouraged," she said. "I always go back and forth between the two states."
She's learned to accept the fact that things don't always go as planned, so she's taking a more practical approach to let things happen naturally. She feels ready to record a few songs, "if anyone would record me." At Boneshakers, she'll play guitar and maybe a looping pedal. Just don't ask her what those songs sound like — she doesn't even know. "Whenever people ask me what my music sounds like, I don't know what to tell them," she said. "I write what I write. You have to hear it."
So I got some hints from someone who knows about writing killer songs, and who knows Garza really well.
"I have seen Carly grow both as a person and as a musician over the years, and she continues to inspire me with her endless passion for the soul of music and the questioning of this show we call business," emailed best friend Nina Díaz, singer-guitarist for Girl in a Coma. "Although her smile may be a bashful disguise over all her melodies and finger picking, I feel we have yet to see all this powerful gal can demand of herself. Basically, she has a long beautiful career ahead of her. I love this gal with all my singing heart."
Carly Garza, Nicolette Good, Elli Perry, Chris Pickering
9pm Wed, Aug 8