A musical force equipped with the soulful vocals of Janis and the guitar slinging skills of Stevie Ray, Carolyn Wonderland reaches into the depths of the Texas blues tradition with the wit of a poet. She hits the stage with unmatched presence, a true legend in her time.
“She’d grown up the child of a singer in a band and began playing her mother’s vintage Martin guitar when other girls were dressing dolls. She’d gone from being the teenage toast of her hometown Houston to sleeping in her van in Austin amid heaps of critical acclaim for fine recordings Alcohol & Salvation, Bloodless Revolution, and most recently, Miss Understood, Peace Meal, and Moon Goes Missing.
Along with the guitar and the multitude of other instruments she learned to play – trumpet, accordion, piano, mandolin, lap steel – Wonderland’s ability to whistle remains most unusual. Whistling is a uniquely vocal art seldom invoked in modern music, yet it’s among the most spectacular talents the human voice possesses.
That vocal proficiency was well-established in the singer’s midteens, landing her gigs at Fitzgerald’s by age 15. She absorbed Houston influences like Little Screamin’ Kenny and soaked up the Mad Hatter of Texas music, Doug Sahm. The Lone Star State was as credible and fertile a proving ground for blues in the 1980s as existed, especially in Austin with Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Angela Strehli, Omar & the Howlers, and Lou Ann Barton all in their prime. By the following decade, Austin’s blues luster thinned, but Houston, always a bastion of soul and R&B, boasted the Imperial Monkeys with the effervescent Carolyn Wonderland as ruler of the jungle.
Today, Carolyn is one of the most recognized names in her genre across Austin and the state of Texas. Her most recent accomplishment is joining forces with the legendary John Mayall as the first ever female Blues Breaker. She will be touring with John across the U.S. throughout the year so be on the lookout for this once in a lifetime line-up.
Shelley King is a musical ambassador of the Austin, Texas sound. For the past twenty years King has built a solid national career as a singer and songwriter who is both a successful solo artist and leader of a formidable band of Austin’s finest musicians. Her blend of original blues, rock, folk, country, soul and gospel led her to be the first woman appointed by the Texas Legislature to represent the state as it’s Official Texas State Artist – Musician; an honor similar to poet laureate. On stage she leads her band through tangents of electric Southern blues and acoustic folk, revved-up Cajun country and rock and roll with a charismatic ease that evidences the resilience of a lifelong performer. She has won Austin Music Awards for Song of the Year and Best Roots Rock Band and released seven albums of original music to rave reviews and radio chart success. Shelley tours relentlessly, performing over 180 dates a year at venues from coffee shops and house concerts to big theaters and major festivals across the world. Her songs have been recorded by numerous national and international artists and appeared in feature films.