Neo-Acoustic Soul Troubadour - traveling the pathways of the heart.
Karyn Ann is a geologist…a graduate level geologist. She knows rocks. But she is also a geologist of the heart. Her songs excavate its bright seams of gold and dark rivers of coal, its trials and tribulations, the exultations of love and loss. To quote Neil Young – she is a miner for a heart of gold. In her own words:
“I’m perpetually propelled towards songwriting, to explore and shed light on the duality of life every time my pen hits the paper. That feeling of the more I know the less I seem to know. Writing is my avenue of expression and articulation, how I work through unknowns, fear and loss. As a friend once said of me, ‘these are not songs for music’s sake, these are songs for journaling’.”
A dedicated student of Blues, Soul and Gospel, Karyn’s singing and songwriting follow a long line from piano roll Blues and Jazz of the 20’s and 30’s onward thru 60’s troubadours such as Bonnie Raitt to modern day artists like Adele, Sheryl Crow, Martin Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Fiona Apple and Foy Vance.
Karyn grew up in upstate New York, a middle child, a Gemini amid two siblings. From a young age, she had a knack for melodies, and recalls “always wanting to sing, in the car, in my room, anywhere.” At age 6, she began piano, and over the years has added violin, guitar and ukulele amongst her musical friends. Her first and abiding love has always been voice but, the direction of her future musical path revealed itself when she chose to transition from singing choir tunes to writing and performing her own music.
“In my senior year I opted to take music theory instead of choir. I had been experimenting with my own compositions for a couple years, and I wanted a better understanding of the mechanics underlying my songwriting. Highlights of that year included writing, arranging and performing original songs in and out of the classroom and the excitement of having my first band.”
Ever the musical omnivore, Karyn was raised on everything from old-time player piano roll tunes to roadhouse jukeboxes playing 50’s, country-pop and Beatles hits. An ambitious student, Karyn played college volleyball while pursuing a dual major in Geology and live performance, spending her off hours at the coffee houses and open mics on and around the college campus. Her graduate study years brought an even greater parallel focus on her composition and lyrical skills. As she comments on her writing:
“Graduate school broadened my perspectives, and ushered in so many more levels of contemplation. My mind got freer as I drove around the country camping, backpacking, and experiencing new surroundings.”
Post-college found her living a trailer in the wilds of central Oregon digging in fossil beds armed with nothing but a radio and a rock hammer. But, the field geologist’s life is a wandering one and soon enough that wandering led her to Portland and its expansive music scene.
Having released her first CD, Accept Uncertainty in 2013, Karyn is an up and comer in the expansive Portland music scene with performances at a range of venues including The Alberta Rose Theatre, Mississippi Studios, The Secret Society Ballroom as well as McMenamin’s Al’s Den and White Eagle venues to name just a few. She is a regular at open mics around town, always ready to join a song circle or test a new tune in front of a live audience.
She has shared stages and sets with many Portland luminaries including Ural Thomas, Pete Krebs, RedRay Frazier, Kris Deelane, Kory Quinn, Sam Densmore, Joe McMurrian, Lewi Longmire, Rachel Taylor Brown and Redwood Son.
The last few years have found Karyn playing an increasing number and variety of shows in and around the city and the greater Northwest region. Be it major theatre shows, popular club venues or intimate singer-songwriter events, Karyn’s voice and songs can be found quieting the nosiest of audiences, stopping the room and pulling them in with words that cut to the heart of the matter. Honest, direct and sincere.
2015 brings a new website: karynann.com, a new CD release and a focus on national touring. Stay tuned…