In 1948, the painter Andrew Wyeth captured a sliver of disappearing Americana in his painting Christina’s World. The painting depicts a lone woman in a faded pink dress, crawling across the Maine grasslands towards a distant barn/farmhouse in the distance.
Interpretations have varied from critic to critic in the ensuing 70 years, but regardless, it is a striking depiction of both rural living, in general, and the lives of women, in particular, at that point in time.
Given the opportunities and resources of modernity, our world has grown, supposedly leaving this one-horse world in the dust. What do those opportunities mean, however, when you have to work 70+ hours just to make ends meet and have a little safety net? Sometimes - even while we can seemingly hold the whole world in the palm of our hands - the horizon seems to be receding like some frustrating nightmare, when we can’t even afford a spare gallon of gas to go for a stress-relieving drive, and many of us can’t even afford basic human traditions like going home for holidays, let alone, god forbid, take a vacation or, even more heretically, try and pursue a career in the creative industry.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there is a war going on, a war for our freedom, a war for our very souls. This is Carolina’s War.
Carolina’s War was also the original name of The Sleepless Elite, an indie quartet from Boston, Massachussetts. Carolina’s War was originally just Carolina Kehoe, the driving force behind Carolina’s War as principal singer/songwriter and ukulele player. After answering an auspicious Craigslist ad, Kehoe and her boyfriend ended up living with Ben and Lisa Deilly. Ben Deilly is a former member of the popular but underappreciated ‘90s band The Lemonheads. The Deilly’s convinced Kehoe to quit school to start a band and follow her dreams, in true rock n’ roll fashion.
Carolina’s War is a short but sweet debut LP, written raw, ragged, and off-the-cuff, to be able to open for Ben Deilly’s new band, Varsity Drag. Although Kehoe describes Carolina’s War as being “mostly pop punk,” if this is the case, it would be of the early ‘80s variety, as Carolina’s War is much more The Pretenders or Joan Jett than Fall Out Boy or Jawbreaker. The guitars are thicker and heavier- hitting than the often thin, tinny ‘00s emo production, while Kehoe’s vocals definitely fall in a similar, powerful vocal range to other lady boss punks like Patti Smith, Chrissi Hynde, Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, on and on.
Likewise, The Sleepless Elite is a little too charged to be a pop/rock band, a little too intricate and considered to be purely punk, a little too electric to be folk, but a little too confessional to be metal. Kehoe isn’t afraid to show her beating heart, while revealing it is capable of being steely, when called for.
Even though we have every opportunity at our disposal, these days, we still have to fight to preserve our rights and freedoms, unless our world starts shrinking around us. Our whole world can become a few block radius, if we’re not careful, falling into the endless work/home/sleep triangle of endless indentured servants. And it’s not just the ladies who need to be worried about being trapped at home, at this point.
Considering that this is the new normal, there is actual no better time to strike out, take a risk, and follow your dreams. As The Grateful Dead say in “The Lady With A Fan,” “I will not forgive you / if you will not take a chance.”
A very strong debut from a committed group of musicians. Expect to hear more from The Sleepless Elite.
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