Carolyn Wonderland - Peace Meal - Carolyn Wonderland has a confidence in her playing that gives her a foot up on the blues ladder. Yes, Carolyn is a good songwriter with vocals that can roar in a whisper, and she is one A list guitarist. Listening to Carolyn on her latest release, Peace Meal, I get the feeling that the first fan she needs to please is the one behind the guitar and voice, Carolyn Wonderland. The daughter of a band singer, Carolyn picked up her Mom’s Martin at an early age. She mastered guitar, trumpet, accordion, piano, mandolin, lap steel and along the way discovering a talent for whistling. Peace Meal gives Blues as a prime influence while Carolyn guides the songs through psychedelic landscapes (“Usurper”), electric fire starters (“Victory of Flying”) and dirt road country folk (“Shine On”).
Peace Meal shows an artist taking chances with sound without moving away from her core. Carolyn Wonderland presents fine examples of all that she can do on the album. “Only God Knows When” is gospel harmonies catching the wave of a second line rhythm and “St. Mark’s” steps lightly as it creeps along under a confessional booth re-telling of what was amid hopes for the future. Carolyn’s music has been likened to Stevie Ray Vaughan on the guitar side and Janis Joplin references for her vocals. That description fits as influences and in some of the way the sounds manifest but Carolyn Wonderland is an artist that needs no RIYL’s attached. She nods to her Janis influences with a cover of Ms. Joplin’s “What Good Can Drinkin' Do”. Peace Meal hosts a few other covers alongside Carolyn Wonderland originals, offering versions of Bob Dylan’s “Meet Me in the Morning” and Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom”.