Carolyn Wonderland Band
A musical force equipped with the soulful vocals of Janis and the guitar slinging skills of Stevie Ray, Carolyn Wonderland reaches into the depths of the Texas blues tradition with the wit of a poet. She hits the stage with unmatched presence, a true legend in her time.
"She'd grown up the child of a singer in a band and began playing her mother's vintage Martin guitar when other girls were dressing dolls. She'd gone from being the teenage toast of her hometown Houston to sleeping in her van in Austin amid heaps of critical acclaim for fine recordings Alcohol & Salvation, Bloodless Revolution, and most recently, Miss Understood.
Along with the guitar and the multitude of other instruments she learned to play â€“ trumpet, accordion, piano, mandolin, lap steel â€“ Wonderland's ability to whistle remains most unusual. Whistling is a uniquely vocal art seldom invoked in modern music, yet it's among the most spectacular talents the human voice possesses.
That vocal proficiency was well-established in the singer's midteens, landing her gigs at Fitzgerald's by age 15. She absorbed Houston influences like Little Screamin' Kenny and soaked up the Mad Hatter of Texas music, Doug Sahm. The Lone Star State was as credible and fertile a proving ground for blues in the 1980s as existed, especially in Austin with Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Angela Strehli, Omar & the Howlers, and Lou Ann Barton all in their prime. By the following decade, Austin's blues luster thinned, but Houston, always a bastion of soul and R&B, boasted the Imperial Monkeys with the effervescent Carolyn Wonderland as ruler of the jungle.
In the early 1990s Wonderland & the Imperial Monkeys were invited to the Guadalupe Street Antone's in Austin. There, they were treated like royalty with the singer as the queen of hearts in the club's post-Stevie Ray Vaughan stable, which included Toni Price, Johnny and Jay Moeller, Sue Foley, Mike and Corey Keller, and the Ugly Americans. It was a good bar for the Monkeys to hang, and Austin felt so comfortable that when the band called it quits a few years later, she set her sights on Austin at the start of the millennium.
Nakia & the Blues Grifters
Nakia - Vocals/Keys
Mac McNabb - Guitar/Vocals
Chris Johnson - Bass
Kevin Hall - Drums
Jan Flemming - B3
Vinnie Limon - Saxophone
Nakia and the Blues Grifters are back! After Nakia finished his run as a backing vocalist in Alejandro Escovedoâ€™s band in 2010, Escovedo producer, Tony Visconti suggested Nakia â€œget back to his rootsâ€� and start a Blues band. Two months later Nakia and the Blues Grifters were finishing a residency at Lucky Lounge, playing KGSRâ€™s, Blues On The Green at Zilker Park, and filling the Saxon Pub. At the end of 2010 Nakia received an email inviting him to audition for â€œThe Voiceâ€� - a then unknown new show coming to NBC. The casting director had found a video of Nakia and the Blues Grifters performing live on KGSRâ€™s â€œLone Star State of Mindâ€� at Saxon Pub and was blown away. After Nakia came home a Top 8 semifinalist from season 1 of â€œThe Voiceâ€� the Blues Grifters disbanded as Nakia began focusing on more original material. Antoneâ€™s is thrilled to bring them back - the way they started - playing the best Blues and Soul covers from the â€™50â€™s through the â€˜70s. Nakia and the Blues Grifters play every Monday in August at 10pm, right after Derek Oâ€™Brien and the Blue Monday Band!
Carolyn Wonderland Band
Carolyn Wonderland Band, Nakia & the Blues Grifters