A great Evening

Carrie Akre showcases her new album at club vertigo Saturday

By Tony Engelhart on January 3, 2008

Some artists wallow in their past accomplishments while others flourish and continually push their creativity. It’s a gamble, and the results are always chancy when changing direction from a proven formula. Northwest singer/songwriter Carrie Akre has reinvented her sound on more than one occasion, and the appraisal has been a mixed bag. But she has not wavered in her convictions for the past eight years, and something tells me it’s going to pay off.

Akre is touring the Northwest behind her new, powerful release, Last the Evening, and hits Tacoma’s Club Vertigo Saturday, Jan. 5.

A fixture in the Seattle music scene since the early ’90s — Hammerbox, Goodness and her label, My Way Records — her voice turns heads regardless of the medium. Her voice pounded like Pat Benatar during her early years. In stark contrast, Akre’s solo-debut in 2000, Home, was a quiet and gentle recording that fell into the adult contemporary music bin due to shades of Martha Wainwright and Imogen Heap.

Following the release of her sophomore effort in 2002, Invitation, Akre remained relatively quiet for the next five years.

In 2007 she signed with the Seattle-based Loveless Records run by Pete Nordstrom and John Richards (KEXP), which produced Akre’s soul-searching CD Last the Evening last October.

“I was looking for a local home, and I know both John and Pete and asked for a meeting. They are true fans and eager to work hard,” explains Akre.

Like her previous solo work, Last the Evening retains her now signature bluesy vibe.

“I think I have a lot of blues style in me by nature, and considering the sadness, I think that comes out easily,” explains Akre.

Now 41, she touches on topics that speak to her generation — such as mid-life crisis.

“It was the first time in life I really didn’t know where I was going next and felt really lost.”

The album — produced by Steve Fisk (Nirvana, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden) — brings Fisk’s meticulous style to the table.

“Steve brought great history of pop and electronics as well as great taste when it comes to working on the feel of a song,” says Akre.

The result of the collaboration is a well thought-out and insightful recording that is accessible and radio-friendly. 

Akre has persistently made an invaluable mark on music by growing up with her audience.

“I think I’ve come to know myself better and have confidence in the music I want to create. Especially this last year friends really pushed me to own who I am and my achievements and be proud. It feels good.”

[Club Vertigo, Saturday, Jan. 5, 7 p.m., $10, 5240 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 253.678.3593]