Lori Carson may best be known as the singer from the Golden Palominos, during the years (1993-94) when that band experimentally combined beats and folk songs. Pure and This is How it Feels were considered groundbreaking at the time.
But it’s as a singer-songwriter that Lori has always felt most at home. Influenced by the confessional songwriters of the seventies, the form allowed for her mournful, pining guitar ballads. Love sought, found, and lost. The music journalist Thom Jurek once said the songs were lullabies, written for self-comfort. They provided comfort to others, too.
The first of these records was Shelter (Geffen/DGC) in 1990. Although, Lori said it wasn’t her favorite. Many fans disagreed. So did Time Magazine, and Rolling Stone. Those publications, and others, rightly predicted a bright future.
Where it Goes (1995), produced, by Anton Fier, came next. It remains a fan favorite and contains some of Lori’s best songs: "Snow Come Down," "Fell into the Loneliness," and "Twisting My Words" to name a few.
"Everything I Touch Runs Wild" was considered a huge leap forward by critics. It made many top ten lists nationally when it was released in 1997. Recorded in Lori’s 11th Street apartment, it featured the trip-hoppy "Something’s Got Me" alongside the alt-country of "Make a Little Luck."
After it, came Stars, recorded with then-boyfriend Layng Martine III, in Seattle. It was released on Restless Records in 1999. That year brought the two back to New York, where they set up house together in Mattituck, on the East end of Long Island. Lori began writing the songs for House in the Weeds soon after.
House in the Weeds (2001) was comprised of ten song demos released as a limited edition. Only two thousand copies were made. Roughly recorded, the songs were about loneliness and love. "Part Missing" and "Your Side" were highlights. The latter was licensed to play during the final scene of indie film Blue Car.
Lori’s songs have frequently been licensed for film and television. There were also collaborations with film composers on original songs for Strange Days (Graeme Revell) and Crazy/Beautiful (Paul Haslinger). Both songs have been used countless times by fans of those movies in homemade videos that can be found all over YouTube.
Bernardo Bertolucci was the first to license one of Lori’s songs. "You Won’t Fall" (from Where it Goes) graces his Stealing Beauty. When Rykodisc put out a compilation of Lori’s film and television contributions, a few years later, its title paid homage. Stolen Beauty also contained a rare Bill Laswell collaboration: Hands, written for another indie, called Broken Vessels.
It’s been a while since Lori released a record of songs. There was The Finest Thing, which came out on Meta Records in 2004, and a year later on One Little Indian. Nine dreamy, mostly instrumental ballads, NPR liked it quite a bit. You could hear it on Sunday nights on John Dilberto’s show, Echoes. John made a point of saying it was a departure from the singer-songwriter records she’d made in the past, and it was.