The true follow-up to Dustin Kensrue’s debut solo album was released in early 2015. Carry The Fire is actually his fourth solo album, but his two previous efforts were not original material. Released on Vagrant Records/Staple Records/Workhorse Music Group, the vinyl version was pressed on two different colors; red and orange. Each color has a sticker on the front of the jacket (on shrink) denoting which color it is. There are 1,500 copies pressed on each color, making 3,000 total copies pressed. Some sites are reporting red is limited to 1,000 copies, but that number is wrong and has never been officially announced nor posted anywhere like the pre-order page, Dustin’s website or any of the labels associated with this release’s websites. The pressing info I am reporting was obtained directly from Vagrant Records after less than an hour from sending an email. Staple Records/Workhorse Music Group responded to my inquiries about pressing info with a personal attack towards me rather than simply saying “We don’t want to release the pressing info.” And that was after one week of being ignored. It’s sad that one label is abrasive towards fans while the other is nothing but prompt, polite and helpful.
There also seems to be some confusion/misdirection with there actually being a second pressing of Carry The Fire. When the album first went up for pre-order only one color was available, red. Eventually Dustin and Staple Records/Workhorse Music claimed the red vinyl sold out, which was timed with the announcement of a new color, orange, which was billed as a “second pressing.” However, the red variant never truly sold out. You can still buy it at indie record stores, various online distros and even Vagrant’s official web store. My local store sold out of red copies by the time I went back to buy it. They had at least 30 copies but Dustin did an in store performance there a few days before I went back so that is likely how they disappeared so fast. I bought this record online from Amoeba Records last week during a sale and received a red copy. So red copies are still out there. The red variant only “sold out” via the official pre-order/order page for the album. The orange copies started shipping at the same time as the red copies; how convenient for a “second pressing” to be ready at the same time as the first pressing.
There were no delays with the records shipping, even with the release date the week after Record Store Day (RSD). As most people are aware RSD releases cause massive delays at pressing plants around the world, pushing non-RSD releases to the back burner so plants can devote all their attention to getting RSD releases out in time for RSD. Now with that fact in mind, how could any label get a second pressing of any record done during this time frame and have it be released at the same exact time as their first pressing? Easy, the answer is there never was a second pressing ordered, both colors were ordered at the same time and the label purposely held back that information until the “first pressing” on red vinyl was somewhat close to selling out. Given my interactions with Staple Records/Workhouse Music Group, it adds further evidence in my book of there not being a second pressing.
The red variant is somewhat translucent, or what some people would call clear. I think the orange variant has some marbling in it, but I have not seen photos of it so I can’t confirm how the orange looks. All copies come with a download code for high quality 320 kbps MP3’s as well as a huge fold out poster that doubles as the insert. The poster has the lyrics printed on one side and on the other is one of the lamest photos I’ve ever seen that never needed to be blown up to poster size. They should have chosen a better photo for one side of the poster, or just used some sort of artwork. The photo is 1/2 of Dustin’s face with his body being obscured by fire. To make matters worse that side of the poster is 3/4 blank white, with the remaining 1/4 having the awful picture of Dustin standing against a black backdrop where you can basically only see one of his eyes.
Thankfully that poster did not drive the price up too much on this record. I doubt the label would have charged less for the record if they included a traditional insert instead of the poster. This record cost around $17 from most places. The album is amazing though, which is the most important thing. The record sounds great and the music on it is, right now, my album of the year. It sounds much different from Dustin’s first album, Please Come Home, and I think Carry The Fire is the better of the two.