Arlene Engelhardt about about 5 years ago
From listener, Carly Summers
Let it be known that Carolyn Wonderland of Austin, Texas is no mere performer. Last night she blanketed us with her soul. Each spectator found out fast she was not there to put on a concert. She released her very essence upon us to create an experience. Whether this is her calling as a reincarnation of some inspired soul steeped in the nirvana of gospel, jazz, and blues or possibly the result of some intimate relationship with Music itself, we will never know.
Carolyn’s talent does not lie merely in the quality of her voice. To describe the impact of her singing isolated from the whole of her art would impede its power. True, this voice of hers impressed the consciousness and not just the senses. Still, it could not be fully appreciated without observing her face as she sung. The expression of a woman lost completely in rhythm, full of every emotion, clenching her eyes, gave us a rare glimpse into the mind of a true musical genius.
Her poetry deepened this experience. She dared us to not only lose ourselves in joy she created but also to find time for introspection. Her words were full of imagery embodying purpose that instilled a sense of determination.
Her words, however, though the most comprehendible tool she used to transmit her gospel, did not stand alone. Her guitar solos themselves created arrows of light that pierced the audience with energy, with beams of love. Our bodies were for moments held in the grasp of what felt like lightning bolts of rhythm and flying notes.
Aside from the impressive experience Carolyn offered us on Saturday, what most deeply affected many of us was surely her personality itself. She exuded a confidence rarely seen. Hers is not the type of confidence resulting from some type of human pride in her talent and success. Hers is a confidence beaming from a contentedness, it seems, in being able to transcend boundaries and bring us along into the fabric of music. She was humble. This was not just evident by the way she reacted to the frenzy of her audience, but in the way she resisted confining herself to any one type of music. She explored with her voice and hands, creating instruments with her eyes and building her songs with bouts of scat singing and whistling. Her love for music itself in all forms was clear. No trace of some selfish desire to display her own impeccable talent was present.
She is pure inspiration.