by J. Scott Rees
The Western Maryland Blues Fest is held every year in rural Hagerstown, MD over the weekend following Memorial Day. Women In Rock found Carolyn Wonderland performing at the 19th annual event, so we decided to review her show.
At 5:45pm, Wonderland, her drummer and keyboardist took the Blue Moon stage, opening with “Come Together”, an appropriate calling to her audience who was demonstrably glad to see her. The late afternoon sun cast its light directly onto the performers, but a parasol mounted on a mic stand shaded Carolyn as she sat playing her guitar and singing. Sunglasses and a floppy hat rounded out her wardrobe.
“Victory of Flying”, a song she wrote about a little bird, followed next from her 2011 Peace Meal album. Strong vocals helped define the story, and the crowd’s response was enthusiastic. This led into her new song, “Where You Gonna Be When the Moon Goes Missing”, a tune in which her Janis Joplin influence really shines. The crowd was happily swaying to the rhythm.
Carolyn’s vocal power is matched only by her prowess on lead guitar. Her fingers flow gracefully across the strings in deference to the charged, high energy notes she produces. This woman is all business.
Shifting into higher gear and after a couple of tunes with Carolyn on lap steel, she called to the stage fellow Texan Shelly King to accompany her on acoustic guitar. The duo sang Joplin’s “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do”, followed by a Freddie King cover of “Living in the Palace of the King”.
All in all, it was a solid performance by this award-winning artist. It’s too bad the performers only get one hour at these festivals, but Carolyn’s fans were happy they got what they came for all the way through her encore.