Covered in peace signs, Carolyn Wonderland looks like the modern day Janis Joplin.
Well, maybe a red-headed, shorter version of Janis. It doesn’t matter.
The point is she’s got a set of pipes that blows you away.
Although her vocal styling and physical appearance is similar to that of her fellow Texan, Carolyn’s got her own distinctive sound.
She could easily get away with just being a singer, but she’s really taken it a step further, being the goddess of multi-instrumentation. She plays the trumpet, the guitar, the mandolin, the piano and the accordion.
When she lived there, the folks over at the Houston Press were giving her well-deserved awards like Halloween candy, so she’s getting some recognition. It’s still not enough. She’s one of those Bonnie Raitt-types, the artists who build an amazing body of work before the rest of the world finally takes notice.
She’s not “blues” or “country” or “rock” or any other arbitrary label or genre that musicians gets shoved into. No, if you had to categorize her it’d be something like “rocknjazzbluesycountryroll,” she’s just that versatile.
Her latest album, Miss Understood came out earlier this year and is the seventh album she’s released. Of course she’s generous with her talent and has made appearances on a multitude of other artist’s albums. She’s been in a variety of bands, the Imperial Monkeys, Sis DeVille, Jerry Lightfoot’s Band of Wonder, and the Loose Affiliation of Saints and Sinners.
Originally from Houston, she’s landed in Austin or “the land of free guitar lessons!” as she puts it. When she’s not recording, she spreads her time between touring (she calls it the “perpetual tour”) and promoting peace (Recently she headlined at the Million Musician March for Peace in Austin) and making YouTube videos (She’s got one introducing “Patty” her main guitar and the other instruments she plays.)
So before she gets famous and it’s impossible to get tickets to her sold out show, do yourself a favor and get out to see her. If she’s not coming near you and you can’t drop everything to follow her at least pick up a copy of Miss Understood and if you can find them Bursting with Flavor and Plays with Matches.
Download Carolyn’s music on iTunes
Photos by Nichole Wagner