Livin in a Ball Factory
Carolynn Black: n., NY orig. 1. female singer-songwriter, known to encourage happiness, dancing, and good vibes through music. Currently, she can be found on the stages of Madison, WI with Vibe Syndicate and Clyde Stubblefield, searching for people in need of a Cheshire-cat smile of a song. Accused of sounding like the freaky-lesbo-love-child of Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin, Carolynn describes herself as a bluesy,country-funkified soul singer. She is all those things, and then some. Carolynn Black was born in a sleepy little seaside suburb of the Big Apple, and from the first day of music class she wanted to be a singer. Singing in choir and then at the occasional blues jam during college and grad school in upstate NY, and while interning on The Hill (during the Clinton years, yes, but no, not THAT intern), she followed her dream back to NYC at the end of 1997. Carolynn quickly formed her own band, Carolynn Black & The Blues, and hosted a weekly jam for two years at The Wreck Room, a cozy little haunt in the heart of Greenwich Village. In March 2001, they self-produced and released Let it go, an eclectic collection of rootsy blues, f.u.'s, and mostly true stories, described as having a 'bluesy folk rock style that bleeds with an intense energy and soulful aura.' For the next three years, Ms. Black continued to play in and around the city with The Blues, became the lead singer for The Healers, a kickin' r&b/soul/blues cover band, and became a regular at attraction at Bleecker Street's most cherished live music venue, The Bitter End. This ultimately lead to the release of her second CD, livin' in a ball factory, in December, 2004. Produced by Ms. Black and her bass player, Dean Zucchero, the album was recorded with members from The Blues, The Healers, a few special guests, and includes some blues, a garage-punk-dance around-your-apartment-love song, a waltzy ode to Amsterdam, some intimately personal pleas, and a few covers - in honor of a few musical heroes. The celtic-sounding 'One brother,' has already received acclaim as a finalist in the folk category of the 2005 Song of the Year contest. Due to interesting circumstances, (real estate markets, impulsive yet smart-as-hell decision making, etc.) a week after the CD release party, she was driving her little hatchback, worldy possessions and cat in tow, to Madison, WI for a little breathing room and a new life with her then fiance, Tom. Little did she know, moving to the midwest would turn out to be the best move for her career. It didn't take long for Carolynn to find her way through Madison's burgeoning live music scene; a blues jam here, jazz jam there, and then she sat in with the man, 'The Original Funky Drummer,' Clyde Stubblefield. Mr. Stubblefield, known primarily for laying down the funky grooves for James Brown, has lived and played in Madison for 30 years. A local luminary, he has mentored most of the drummers in south central Wisconsin, and at 63, is still the grooviest of them all. In October 2005, Clyde called up Carolynn and said 'You're in the band!' As his 'goddess of soul' Carolynn gets to wrap her sultry voice around all the classic r&b, funk, blues, and soul he can dish out every Monday at The King Club. In return for her intoxicating performances, she was nominated for a 2006 MAMA (Madison Area Music Award) for Best Female Vocalist. The same week she was asked to join The Clyde Stubblefield Band, Carolynn was also invited into the original r&b/neo-soul outfit Vibe Syndicate whose debut album is due out this spring. As the new vocalist and lyricist, she was given the opportunity to step out of her box and expand her writing and song styling. Always up for a challenge, she has added that extra spark to a seriously talented group of musicians. In January 2006, Joey B. Banks, drummer extraordinaire, asked Carolynn to join The Black 'n' Blues All-Stars, a veritable who's who of midwestern soul that includes both Clyde and Joey on drums, Bruce Allford, Roscoe Mitchell, and Cliff Frederickson to name a few. Not only was her inaugural performance with the All-Stars the finale of the MAMA award show, but she had the honor of sharing the stage with another of Madison's local legends, jazz keyboardist, Ben Sidran. All of this attention lead her to form a new band for her down-home, countrified, funky, singer/songwriter sound. The Carolynn Black Band unleashed it's chicken-fried-folk at the 2006 SUMMERFEST in Milwaukee, and showcased at the 2006 MidPoint Music Festival in Cincinnati this past September. Being busy with recording the Vibe Syndicate album, Funky Mondays, and preparing for the new baby growing in her belly, has left little time to book shows, but be on the lookout for gigs this spring. Ms. Black also plans on recording with Clyde this spring - some originals and some tasty covers with a soulful slant - so check back for more info. Most recently, both The Clyde Stubblefield Band AND Vibe Syndicate were nominated for 2007 MAMAs in the Blues and Urban/R&B Artist of the Year categories respectively. It seems there is no shortage of love and excitement for Ms. Black in Madison. Accordingly, Carolynn hopes to spread her philosophy as far as she can: Music is life, so keep on rockin'!