Carbon Leaf’s “One Prairie Outpost” Rooted in Nostalgia

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The band Carbon Leaf is commemorating the 10th anniversary of their breakout album, Indian Summer, by scaling things back. The Virginia-based ensemble re-recorded the whole project with an acoustic spin, breathing new life into a familiar batch of songs – some of which have never left the set list.

For example, the acoustic version of “One Prairie Outpost” works wonderfully because the song’s narrator is already rather wistful.

“As a fan favorite, I always look forward to singing ‘One Prairie Outpost,’” lead singer Barry Privett tells CMT Edge. “With a lot of songs it can become natural to sometimes not think of the lyrics because you have sung them so much, but I’m always grounded by the first line of this one: ‘Not been here since I was a boy, the sky unwrapped the world my toy, a movie reel a million miles long, on and on.’ That line refers to my first trip out West as an impressionable 6-year-old.”

Today, Privett can happily recall seeing Yosemite, the Columbia River and the ghost towns of the region from the comfort of his family’s station wagon. After sleeping in a pop-up Coleman canvas camper at national parks along the way, the trip culminated in a 1976 bicentennial celebration at Disneyland — and Privett got to see the parade. Who can blame him for feeling sentimental now?

“‘One Prairie Outpost’ is a nostalgic look back at how things looked through our young eyes, and how we reconcile with where we are now as adults,” Privett adds. “Part hope and part albatross I guess. ‘Somewhere between the dream and the real.’ I’m thankful to be singing songs like that 10 years later.”

The band recorded the new version of the song by tracking drums, bass, acoustic guitar and lead vocals all at the same time. While it captures the live feeling of the band, it also brings out a relaxed vibe. You might even say it’s warm and fuzzy.

Look for the new album, titled Indian Summer Revisited, on Tuesday (Sept. 9). An extensive fall tour begins on Sept. 13 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Enjoy the CMT Edge premiere of Carbon Leaf’s “One Prairie Outpost” from Indian Summer Revisited.