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Music Review: Carolyn Wonderland – Peace Meal

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“Dylan wants to see you.”

Imagine it’s your first day of school. You’ve heard all the scary stories from your older brothers or sisters, your friends. “Oh, man, you don’t ever want to get called to the principal’s office! He’s got that lickin’ stick about this thick, and it has holes drilled in it to make it hurt more when he whips your butt!”

Ray Benson said those words to Carolyn Wonderland, which were sure to have sent through her a frisson of fear mixed with pride. Like being called to the principal’s office.

“Hey, have you heard Carolyn Wonderland? She’s something else!  …  She stuck out. She should be nationwide! What’s she doing?”

“Playing shitty clubs in Texas.”

Those are the words The Bob spoke, and that Ray Benson replied before inviting her to jam with him. The Bob’s a Believer. And Wonderland’s brand new album, Peace Meal, will make you a Believer, too. Twelve cuts of croons, moans, and blistering, tear-your-heart-out slide guitar. Then she rips into a bourbon-soaked, Marlboro-aged holler that made me think of another Texan: Pearl, aka Janis Joplin.

The dozen cuts on this Bismeaux Records CD include a mix of her own compositions and covers, including selections by Bob Dylan, McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters, Janis Joplin, Robert Hunter, Elmore James and Robert Johnson. The technical staff backing her in the studio includes a dozen Grammys and a Monkee, Michael Nesmith. The Joplin track, “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do,” is a rarely-heard bootleg cut, and this opener is done exceptionally well.  A well-done, well-put-together CD package overall.

Some cuts on the CD were recorded in a place that will elicit fond memories of Joplin’s era, where Wonderland also has an appearance coming up:  at one of Levon Helm’s Rambles on his farm in Woodstock, New York. She’s played on three continents and Austin City Limits, and right now she’s touring across the US.  Check her website for other locations, from Texas to Massachusetts to Florida.  For us down here in GatorLand, she’ll be appearing at the Riverhawk Music Festival at Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville, Florida.

The CD is not yet on sale, but if you’d like to get a copy signed by all three band members, along with a sticker and button featuring artwork from the album, you can only get this package at her website all for the price of just the CD.

But hurry, since this offer expires in just four days.

 

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About Lou Novacheck

  • Lou Novacheck

    Update: Wonderland’s appearance at Levon Helm’s Rambles is already sold out.