Carolyn Wonderland – Blues Highlights
Carolyn Wonderland in 2018, takes over as guitarist in John Mayall’s Blues Breakers. Furthermore, becoming the first woman to hold the position once filled by such luminaries as Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor. As well as Peter Green. With the release of Tempting Fate on October 8th. This Texan is the first female guitar hero in the 50-year history of Alligator Records.
All the accolades for Wonderland’s six-string prowess are well-deserved. But as Tempting Fate makes clear, she is much more than just a brilliant guitar slinger. Producing the album, is Grammy winning roots-rocker Dave Alvin!
With an earth-shaking, soul-stirring distillation of the talents she has displayed as a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and writer. It’s a record bursting with life and personality, revealing a performer who sounds equally at home or in a roadhouse.
Why You Need To Embrace This Album!
“Fragile Peace and Certain War” opens the album with Wonderland taking a turn on lap steel. While the bite of her playing matching the self-penned lyrics, she spits out in her Texas drawl. It’s one of a few songs that offer social commentary. Her version of Mayall’s “The Laws Must Change” is similarly hard-hitting, full of thick-toned riffing.
Her own “Crack in the Wall” takes a different tack: Slow and acoustic, accented by accordion, it’s a quietly tender meditation. As a singer, Wonderland can belt with the best of them, but she knows how to harness that power. Her judicious use of it heightens the drama and feeling of originals such as “Fortunate Few” and the accusatory “Broken-Hearted Blues.”
Marcia Ball on The Piano
Wonderland displays a light touch on “Texas Girl and Her Boots,” a barroom blues (with Marcia Ball on piano) that has fun with her footwear obsession, while she turns Billy Joe Shaver’s “Honey Bee” into a lively Texas two-step. With her own “On My Feet Again,” you can almost picture Wonderland trading in her beloved boots for heels and an evening gown. It’s an elegant, piano-dominated ballad that also highlights another of her talents – whistling.
Taking on Dylan
Wonderland has done numbers by friend and admirer Bob Dylan before, and here she tackles “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.” She takes it at the same languid pace as the original, but, gives it new life by performing it as a duet with fellow Texan Jimmie Dale Gilmore and coloring it with lap steel by Cindy Cashdollar and her own guitar solo.
Tempting Fate closes with an epic version of the Grateful Dead’s “Loser.” Starting slow and before building to a climax of furious riffing and Wonderland’s wailing. “I got no chance of losing this time!” It ends with her voice rising effortlessly into a falsetto, fittingly! Leaving her – and the listener – on a high.
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CREDITS: By Nick Cristiano – Rock And Blues Muse / https://www.rockandbluesmuse.com/