When you think of singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton, you probably start humming her chart-topping single “A Thousand Miles.”
But now, after all those miles, she’s taking her music in a different direction.
Fans can preview Carlton’s new style when she performs Wednesday at Spanish Moon. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance at ticketweb.com and $25 at the door.
Last fall, Carlton released “Liberman,” her fifth studio album that’s sparse and folky compared to her piano-laden pop-platinum hit. The name and the new project also are personal for the singer-songwriter.
“I wanted to honor my real family name,” Carlton said, of the album title.
Liberman, which means “beloved,” according to Carlton, is her grandfather’s given name.
In an interview with CBS News, Carlton told reporters the title also is the name of a colorful oil painting her grandfather did. The painting sits behind a piano where Carlton wrote most of the new album.
“I would look at this painting when I wrote a lot of the songs for the record,” she said.
“Liberman” reflects Carlton’s personal state of mind, too.
After releasing 2011’s “Rabbits on the Run,” Carlton took a break and moved from New York City to Nashville, Tennessee. She married John McCauley, a musician from the band Deer Tick, and had a baby girl.
When listening to “Liberman,” you’ll notice a more laid back approach. There’s more simplicity, and it’s a showcase of Carlton’s vocals and lyrics.
For the new album, Carlton went back to work with producer-writer Steve Osborne. After working together on “Rabbits on the Run,” Carlton said she was inspired to work again with Osborne.
“I wanted to go more down the musical path with (Osborne),” she said. “When we were working on ‘Hear the Bells,’ I realized I wasn’t done working with him.”
So far, critics and crowds aren’t finished listening, either.
“Liberman” features singles such as “Operator” and “House of Seven Swords.” But her favorite song to perform is “Blue Pool.”
“There’s just a beautiful kaleidoscope part at the end of the song that sounds useful to me,” Carlton said of “Blue Pool.”
During next week’s show, she has one goal — be as honest to the record as possible.
“I want to recreate the sound of the record, I want to recreate tracks live and rebuild the sound,” she said. “I want to give you the real taste of ‘Liberman.’ ”