S. Carey – Rough Trade NYC – March 29, 2018
Growing up in Wisconsin, Sean Carey was literally born into music as a son of a music teacher and singer. Upon graduating from the college in 2007, he was in the right place at the right time having heard a little album by fellow Wisconsinan Justin Vernon and was inspired to learn all of the songs. He got the opportunity to sing for Vernon backstage and then his acceptance into Bon Iver was complete. A musician in his own right, Carey wrote his first album, All We Grow, under the moniker S. Carey, during a break in touring. After the release of his debut in the fall of 2010, Carey joined the Tallest Man on Earth as his opener. Since then, Carey has put out his third record, Hundred Acres, last month, and he landed at a sold-out Rough Trade NYC last night to serenade fans with the new material.
Following her opening slot, the very talented Gordi joined Carey and his band for the headlining set. Fitting in like she’d been in the group all along, her vocals nicely rounded out their harmonies. “Hideout” and the new single “Yellowstone” kicked off the show, and most of the set was comprised of the latest release. Carey took his comfortable seat behind the drum kit first on “Emery,” but would swap with guitarist Zach Hanson throughout the night. The evening’s supporting-player award went to Ben Lester on pedal steel, as his mastery of the instrument wove a sultry country twang throughout.
While Carey was tuning his guitar, Lester led the band in a rendition of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” which instantly drew applause from the crowd. A trio of back-catalog gems, the Yosemite-inspired “Fleeting Light,” a bittersweet “Alpenglow” and oldie but goodie “In the Stream,” came toward the tail end of the set to the glee of longtime fans. An encore included Gordi’s “I’m Done” with the frontman dueting from behind the drums, and a cover of Tom Waits’s “Take It With Me” by a solo Carey. —Sharlene Chiu