by HAP MANSFIELD
Friday the 13th has that dreadful reputation of being bad luck but it will turn into your lucky day if you go out to see Carolyn Wonderland at the Cheatham Street Warehouse that night.
Carolyn Wonderland has one of those musical bios that tell the story of how excellence is experienced in the music industry. The Houstonian singer/song-writer was a whiz kid on the guitar, wowing the likes of no less than Bob Dylan and racking up regular gigs with her band the Imperial Monkeys at Antone’s when she was still in her teens. She has shared the bill with Buddy Guy and Johnny Winter. She’s accumulated critical accolades in heaps while she had to sleep in her car in Austin. The woman has not only paid her dues, she’s walked the walk so many musicians, who have never set foot on the pavement, talk about.
There’s hardly an instrument this woman cannot master and her talents include playing the accordion, the trumpet, the lap steel guitar, the mandolin and the piano. She rivals the best of the lot on the guitar which she has been comfortable with since she was 15 years old. She’s also a world class whistler, a talent which is often overlooked in the recording industry save for the skills of folks like Roger Whitaker and Vic Anderson, the yodeling cowboy.
Often called “genre bending” from her abilities with country, folk, americana and out and out rock, her latest release, Peace Meal, has already engendered interest. Just last weekend she was featured on NPRs’ Weekend Edition where she talked about her newest work and her vocal similarity to another famous Texan Janis Joplin. Her love song on the release, “St. Mark’s,” is a nod to her husband, comedian Whitney Brown.
Wonderland’s skills have deepened over the years, as all good muscians’ do. She can rock with the best of them, sing like there’s no tomorrow and still charm with a love song or two. She may even whistle for you if you ask politely. It would be well worth it to ask.
Wonderland will be at the Cheatham Street Warehouse, 119 Cheatham Street, on Jan 13. Tickets are $15. The music will start up about 9 p.m.Email | Print