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Vanessa Carlton to bring ‘Future Pain’ tour to Homer Center for the Arts

Vanessa Carlton
Vanessa Carlton

Singer-songwriter-pianist Vanessa Carlton will bring her “Future Pain” tour to the Center for the Arts in Homer on Wednesday night. She’s touring to promote her latest album, “Love is an Art,” which came out in 2020 and finds her exploring new musical and lyrical terrain.

Carlton is looking forward to hitting the road, as it’s her first headlining tour in five years.

“I’m extremely excited to get back into that kind of rhythm and that kind of level of connection again because nothing's better than sitting in a room,” she said in a recent phone interview. “Just sharing music with people and having that sort of emotional connection with everyone, you know?”

It’s also her first real chance to tour “Love is an Art,” which she recorded with producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, MGMT). Unfortunately, the album came out during the start of the pandemic, which scuttled her plans to tour with a full band in 2020.

For the current tour, Carlton will be joined by cellist Isabel Castellvi in “a new setup that I've never done before.”

“She has a number of pedals that she uses to manipulate her sound, and she also does background vocals with me,” Carlton said of Castellvi. “And we'll use a looper, where you can record yourself live while you're playing and then play it back. So we're going to be able to bring a lot of psychedelic vibes to what seems to be a straightforward cello-piano type setup.”

“It should be pretty still pretty intimate,” she added. “But we’ll try to be creating some sounds and arrangements that are hopefully captivating. I use Nirvana’s ‘Unplugged’ record as a good example: people know those songs like the back of their hand, but then the band will try to rearrange the songs in a way that reveals something else about them.”

While she’s probably best known for her 2002 hit “A Thousand Miles,” Carlton’s career spans more than 20 years and six albums, which means she’ll have a lot of material to draw from.

“Since it’s my first headlining tour in a long time, I'm going to cherry-pick some songs that I know that fans have requested a lot over the past 10 years, whether it's ‘Who's To Say,’ from my second record, or ‘Ordinary Day,’ which I rarely play; it's one of the first songs I ever wrote,” she said. “So those are some old Vanessa things that I'm going to sprinkle throughout the show. And then I like to curate sort of a journey, so I'll pick and choose songs from my records over the years and try to create this presentation that hits all the bases.”

Carlton toured with Stevie Nicks last fall, continuing a friendship that dates back nearly 20 years.

“That was awesome,” she said. “It’s like this gift in that she swoops into my life every now and then, and I just can't even believe it. And in addition to that, just being able to watch her show every night, it's just a masterclass in performance and in how organized and prepared everybody is. I feel very lucky to have a mentor like Stevie in my musical life.”

While she'll be touring to promote “Love is an Art,” Carlton has already started to think about writing songs for her next record.

“I have these ebb and flow moments, but I think this tour is going to really help me get back into the groove of that,” she said. “I don't know about you, or anyone that's reading this story, but it's really easy to just start going down wormholes of news and situations in this country and around the world. I just start to worry about things, too many things, and I think it's in the way of me being able to just digest and observe. I found it to be quite challenging to create space for myself creatively when I'm at home because of that. But I noticed that going on the road with Stevie helped me to create some space where I could just get lost in the moment and start writing.”

If you go

Who: Vanessa Carlton

What: “Future Pain” tour

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8

Where: Center for the Arts, Homer

Cost: $25, available online here

Event Info

Vanessa Carlton
Vanessa Carlton

Jim Catalano covers the Finger Lakes music scene for WITH (90.1 FM in Ithaca, and its affiliates.