I appreciate and completely agree with Margaret Moser's piece last week on Carolyn Wonderland (“Miss Understood,
” Music, May 2).
As a native Austinite, I have seen many places (Soap Creek Saloon, Raul's, Armadillo World Headquarters) and musicians come and go, but Carolyn Wonderland first blew me away at the Austin Peace Festival in 2006. When I first heard her play and sing, I was stunned and enthralled. This tiny, soft-spoken woman channeled Janis Joplin and Johnny Winter all in the same body. She can play any instrument (guitar, trumpet, mandolin, etc.) and sings rock, R&B, gospel, and just about anything else with ease and grace. Cole El-Saleh on keyboards and Eldridge Goins on drums show a tight band that has played together for years.
One thing that can't be said enough is Carolyn genuinely cares about people who tread through this world. I have seen her many times donate her time as a headliner at events for peace and social justice to bring attention to important local, state, and national causes. Topics have ranged from peace and women's rights to improving jail conditions. Ray Benson had it right when he said, “She's also an incredible guitar player and a great person, so humble. … That's magic."
Do yourself and the Austin music scene a favor, and pick up your own “magic” by buying a Carolyn Wonderland CD, or check her out at the Saxon Pub, where she plays frequently on Thursday nights. You had better haul your ass down there soon, because I don't expect her to be in Austin much longer … if Bob Dylan and Ray Benson recognize amazing talent, she's not long for the River City.