So, what's his story?
Here It Is:
When Carl was 5 his mother played classical music and said if he closed his eyes he could “see” the music. He did, and he did. It was to become a lifelong inspiration. Years later Carl bought his first guitar in Spain and a sheet of chord diagrams, and spent the summer riding the trains and hanging out on the beaches of Europe exploring out how life, his guitar and these chords might all be interrelated. Carl had little interest in learning songs written by others. With only a few chords under his belt, he began writing.
Fueled by his mother’s gift, Carl consistently pens lyrics with characters that come alive in scenes that paint a picture and tell a story, often with an unexpected twist and a dash of emotion. Carl’s songwriting rule is simple. If you can’t close your eyes and “see” the song keep rewriting or throw it out!
Carl’s songs draw a line between contemporary folk and what country music was before it turned into something else, delivered with his gutsy baritone over a melodically fingerpicked acoustic guitar. He is often appreciated by those who are drawn to some of his influences, like John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, and Bill Morrissey.
Encouraged by others to seek an outlet for his songwriting, Carl booked studio time to record some demos. The project "evolved" into First Bite, a full-blown album with intentionally sparse production. First Bite quickly received airplay on radio stations up and down the east coast and Carl rapidly established an identifiable presence in regional club, concert and festival venues.
The reality of family obligations forced him to choose between performing and songwriting in his “spare time”. Carl opted for his first love, concentrating on writing and self-publishing, limiting performances to occasional festival and listening room appearances. Although that “big hit song” has yet to be landed, Carl has had songs recorded by others, one of which received rotational airplay on Australian country radio. Another of his songs, “Gonna Get Myself A Winnie”, was slated to open the season on MTV’s Road Rules show and was featured on Car Talk.
Then an unfortunate automobile injury left Carl unable to play guitar for quite some time and sidetracked his performing ability. Craving a creative outlet, he turned to fine art photography to feed his starving muse. He has now returned, with a host of new songs, and is more enthusiastic than ever about offering expanding audiences the opportunity to “see” the songs he will unveil before them.
Having been featured by BMI in New York City at their "Songwriter's Collaboration Night" and at their "Acoustic Roundup Songwriters Showcase", having performed his songs with some well-known writers in invitational Nashville songwriter circles, and in listening rooms like Caffe Lena as a featured artist, Carl Rubino is a songwriter worth listening to.
And here's what some radio djs, music reviewers, arts editors, venue operators and fellow songwriters have had to say about his songwriting and his performance:
"A long (long) time ago I was opening a show at South Street Seaport and heard John Prine do a song called "Hello In There". If you wonder how that felt, listen to Carl Rubino's song "Land Of Opportunity" from his debut album FIRST BITE. Isn't it cool to be in on the beginning of something great!!" Christopher Shaw, Singer-Songwriter
"Carl's voice is the edge, cutting through the smokescreen of voices on the contemporary folk scene. That voice, and the straight forward lyrics of his songs, can make a target out of your heart." Wanda Lu Greene, WNCW Radio, Spindale, NC
"Carl Rubino is a singer-songwriter whose original tunes weave a line between contemporary acoustic folk and the kind of county music that was popular before country rock came to town. His album 'FIRST BITE' is an interesting collection that runs the gamut from moving ballads and humor, to astute observations of life. The album is a perfect vehicle for Carl's deep, smokey baritone and straight forward lyrics and is a well crafted first effort." Jeff Miller, The Burlington Coffeehouse, Burlington, VT
"As a painter uses color for vibrance and effect, singer-songwriter Carl Rubino uses words. With lyrics and lines, he recaptures moments and memories...Rubino's FIRST BITE songs are sometimes reflective, sometimes funny, but always about real people in real places." Matthew Crowley, Staff Writer, The Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY
"Thanks for giving me the opportunity to hear FIRST BITE. I felt like I was listening to some new Bill Morrissey or maybe John Prine. It's obvious to me it was the right time...to come out with this music." Dana Robinson, Singer-Songwriter
"This self-produced (with Chuck Eller) disc offers 10 acoustic originals in a spare, folk-country vein, with influences from the likes of Merle Haggard and John Prine. Rubino doesn't push his laid-back baritone too hard...His easy-listening guitar work is gently limber and occasionally bolstered by some Vermont talent...FIRST BITEreveals Rubino's penchant for both old-timey good humor and maudlin sentiment of the tear-stained letter variety - in other words, classic country fare..." Pamela Polston, Music Reviewer, VOX/Vermont Times, Burlington, VT
"Whether you listen to his serious, heartfelt songs or his comical look at retirement or love or even New Jersey, listeners will really enjoy his song writing and musical interludes. This release is now on my playlist permanently." Brian Haskins, Music Director, WSCP-FM 101.7, Pulaski, NY
"This one [FIRST BITE] stands up well whether it's (a) first or tenth. It's a really enjoyable piece of work, one that I like for its very truthfulness...The instrumental beds...and sparse production... are integral to the character of the lyrics...and serve the material well. (Carl's) voice...(is)...straightforward and honest and serves the songs very well. (He's) got a very nice way of painting pictures of people. The best songs on the album are the ones that tell simple stories and take the time to detail the images of the characters in them. They really come alive. This first one in (his) catalog is certainly a fine one!" Eric Garrison, Singer-Songwriter
"As an artist representative, a great deal of material from aspiring songwriters finds its way to my office, very little of it stays. A year later, First Biteis still here - that says it all." McShane Glover, Noteworthy Productions
"Carl Rubino captures an earthly innocence in his stories. His observations are sincere and unpretentious, seemingly penned by the man next door. I liked this one..." Michele Scherneck, Music Reviewer, The Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange