Test Drive the New Karen Carroll Recording by Bman Blueswriter
in Art (submitted 2011-11-30)
I have just received a preview of the to be released recording by Karen Carroll called " Karen Carroll's Blues Mix". This recording is totally different from anything that I have heard in the past from Karen and I really like it. My exposure to Karen is in doing primarily traditional blues tunes and her strong voice and unique styling has set her apart from the pack. Karen has a very dark and mysterious voice and she uses it very productively. This recording ventures in many directions including Blues, Neo Soul,Hip Hop, Funk,Gospel, maybe even rap... good rap. The recording is primarily Karen's stunning voice with blended harmonies, acoustic guitar and harmonica, electric keys and drum. Born in Chicago and widely known across Europe, Karen has departed from a strict blues format and traditional blues standards with an experimental package which works very nicely. Ok, so you want to know what it may remind you of or what it sound like that you may have heard. The imagery that is evoked in my mind is of an earthy, bluesy voice... not raspy but sweet and solid with tons of textures and feel. Karen is a really great singer. She at times sings very simply and straight forward with the simple beauty of Fiona Apple or Hope Sandoval. But her voice in no way resembles either artist. Nor does her music. At other times the wonderful textural vocal harmonies that she conjures up are reminiscent of D'Angelo. But again not a clone but a beautiful compliment to his existing work. There are harmonica parts on the recording but they more resemble the sounds of artistic creator Stevie Wonder than blues dynamo Little Walter. Then there is the Hip Hop /Rap influence on parts that sound like mix master Snoopy (Doggy Dog) is dropping by for some juice. Karen is a very confident singer and songwriter, just out making great music from every sound that she hears in her head and in her environment. She worked with young American artist, Michael Booze of "Boozefam," in Europe to develop the new hip-hop tracks. I'm not a huge urban Hip Hop fan but it is tastefully done and the balance of the recording is so strong it effortlessly carries the weight that any old school Hip Hop music might lend. This is a very strong recording and I hope you grab a copy while you can.
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Karen Carroll comes back with one of the hottest blues tracks since Keb Mo hit the charts with “Soon As I Get Paid”. She responds wih a larger-than-life performance, this live recording also spotlights her burgeoning songwriting skills. She seasons her careworn, burnished alto and blows you away with her emotional desolation and unquenchable optimism. Carroll’s highly polished blasts of blues-rock is down and dirty Chicago blues never sounding forced. This is one of her best pieces of work, this OG with her soulful and bellowing voice works the band and her audience as always!