With her tongue in cheek lyricism and her unexplored yet intriguing themes, New Jersey’s own “professional smart aleck” Carla Ulbrich is on her way to becoming the Weird Al Yankovic of country music.
And on March 1st, Ulbrich will unleash her newest and spiciest album yet, Twang, which will be available on all streaming platforms.
Twang has been described as, “her most countrified release yet,” and this wouldn’t be possible without the musicianship of 15-time IBMA Dobro Player of the Year Rob Ickes, 4-time Grammy winner Andy Leftwich on fiddle, electric guitarist Erik Halbig, producer and bass player Bob Harris, and Bob Malone on piano. With its toe tapping country instrumentals and Ulbrich’s sarcasm and satire, Twang is sure to make its listeners laugh just as much as they dance.
Twang’s first track and single “(Is It) Hot Enough For Ya?” kicks the album off with a bang, with Ulbrich singing about her hatred of every Average Joe thinking they’re a comedic genius by saying, “Is it hot enough for you?” in the middle of the summer. The lyrical highlight of this funny, upbeat, honky tonk tune is when Ulbrich surpasses the idea of subtlety and says how much this joke really bothers her: “Everyone’s a comedian / It’s annoying I tell you what / When your heat rash has got a heat rash / And your bra strap has melted shut”.
The third track, “20 Rats,” is also a standout, as it took me back to my seventh grade science class where we dissected rats for a week. I remember all the procedures we did, feeling terrible for the rats, and that awful formaldehyde smell… Long story short, there’s a reason why I’m a journalist instead of a doctor.
“20 Rats” is a notable track from Twang because of its minor key, slower tempo, and its serious undertones. Ulbrich utilizes the tests that scientists perform on rats and compares them to the effects of addiction.
Towards the end of the track, Ulbrich comes to the conclusion that many people become addicts because they feel trapped in their own situations with the lines, “Then Doctor Alexander came onto the scene / He said “I’m looking at these rats / They’re disengaged / These are social creatures trapped in isolation / The problem’s not the morphine / The problem is the cage.”
In the album’s closing track, “(Have You Tried) Not Bein’ a Dick”, subtlety is not the name of Ulbrich’s game, and she holds absolutely nothing back. Ulbrich herself describes the track as an “uptempo, honky tonk, and in your face song written to someone that clearly needs a good whooping”. The honky tonk style piano playing of Bob Malone is a highlight on this track and the combination of the piano and gang vocals make this hilarious ending track sound like an explicit drinking song.
As a whole, Carla Ulbrich’s new LP Twang is sure to make audiences laugh, dance, and learn how not to take life too seriously.