There’s no question, Carolyn Wonderland can put on a fantastic show and her pre-Valentine’s day gig at Antone’s was a small demonstration of the talent that’s earned her dozens of awards including best female vocalist and best blues band in the 2009 Austin Music Awards.
She and her band Michael “Lefty” Lefkowitz (drums) and Cole El-Saleh (keyboards/key bass) kept the audience dancing during their early set before Lou Ann Barton’s birthday show.
Opening with Terri Hendrix’s I Found the Lions, Carolyn included several other covers like Blind Willie Johnson’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine and Bo Diddley’s I Can Tell. And having recently performed at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame’s tribute to Janis Joplin this past November, she’s pulled What Good Can Drinkin’ Do out from the archives and replaced the slightly “folk” sound of the 1962 version Janis wrote and recorded with straight-up blues and soul.
She pulled out the mandolin (“it’s dry clean only, I missed the label,” she laughed at comments from the crowd about the instrument size) for Shine On and The Wind Cries Mary before switching to the lap steel for Misunderstood and squeezing in a trumpet solo on Walk On (both are from her most recent record, Miss Understood). They closed the show with Judgement Day Blues, their usual but spectacular finale.