Carolyn Dolan celebrates new album with South Lake Tahoe friends on Sunday at the Beacon

Carolyn Dolan
Carolyn Dolan will have several summertime performances celebrating the release of “How Deep is The Ocean” Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

“I was doing all right, but I’m doing much better now.”

When Carolyn Dolan sings the George Gershwin tune, “I Was Doing All Right,” she could be describing the musical epiphanies that advanced her career, which this month culminates with the release of an album, “How Deep is The Ocean,” by Carolyn Dolan and Peter Supersano. It has 13 songs that celebrate 60 years of music. The songs can be considered standards but also have unique arrangements.

She celebrates the release of the album on Sunday, Sept. 13, with a performance from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Beacon Bar and Grill in South Lake Tahoe.

“It should be great weather, and I’m hoping for a good turnout,” she said.

It will be Dolan’s seventh and final CD release party show of the summer. She scheduled the show for after Labor Day weekend in order to make it a locals’ event.

“This is it,” she said. “I’ve been pumping all summer and I’m whupped. It’s been good, but it’s been a lot of work,. I’m looking forward this Sunday and just hanging with everybody, all locals at the Beacon. It will be really fun.”

The summer also included news that Dolan will be inducted into the Western Swing Society’s Hall of Fame in Sacramento this October. The society recognized Dolan’s time fronting the band the Outpsyders.

Carolyn Dolan and Peter Supersano in the studio. Provided by Carolyn Dolan
Carolyn Dolan and Peter Supersano in the studio.
Provided by Carolyn Dolan

A South Lake Tahoe singer and multi-instrumentalist, Dolan’s musical journey began when as a fifth-grader she shocked her mother by asking to go to summer school to play clarinet in the school band.

The first epiphany occurred as she learned piano.

“As soon as I learned piano, I understood harmonies and bass lines,” she said. “It opened up the world.”

Dolan was fascinated again with an inside album cover of California country pioneer Linda Ronstadt wearing a long skirt and cowboy boots. “I said, ‘I’m going to do that,’ ” recalled Dolan, who 15 years later wore a long skirt and cowboy boots as a singer and harp player with a Tahoe Western swing and rockabilly band, the Outpsyders.

During her college days as a fine art major, Dolan learned to appreciate the blues, and especially the harmonica-guitar country blues duo of Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. Her exploration into the blues led to an edgy club in Sacramento where the band was Little Charlie and the Nightcats. The band was fronted by Rick Estrin, a clever and charismatic harp master with thick glasses and a pompadour.

“Rick Estrin is my mentor,” Dolan said. “He’s like God to me.”

Dolan lived briefly at Tahoe, then moved away before deciding return to the lake for good. That’s an epiphany shared by many.

She worked as a camera girl at the Caesars (now MontBleu) showroom, taking photos of attendees of dinner and cocktail shows with stars such as Smokey Robinson and Red Skelton. Dolan went on to become a stagehand, and she worked behind the scenes with the Temptations and many others.

Her first band at Tahoe was a rock group called the Wize Guyz. Then she was in a folk trio, Three Way Street, a play on “4 Way Street,” the first live album by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Then came a long run with the Outpsyders and its guitarist Johnny Fingers from the Reno band the Saddle Tramps.

“We played ‘Texadelic’ rockabilly, Western swing, country and bluegrass,” Dolan said. “It was really nutty and it was really fun. …

“I liked country, blues and R&B, then I ventured into jazz. I grew up listening to my parents’ big band swing albums. I met Peter Supersano and got into the Reno jazz scene. As long as you have your charts, you can show up and play.”

To play shows closer to home, Dolan more than a decade ago started her own band, Big Red, named after two red-headed band mates, who have since left. Now the “Red” can be referenced to Mick Clarke’s red Gibson 335 guitar.

In July 2014 an anonymous donor provided the opportunity for Dolan and Supersano to make a jazz album, and they cut no corners in the process. Esteemed recording engineer Tom Gordon offered his services and his Imirage Sound Lab in Sparks. Top jazz artists in the region contributed, including many members of the Reno Jazz Orchestra.

“I had a lot of suggestions and I picked the ones that I could get into,” Dolan said. “Some had been doing for a long time.”

The first song they recorded is a ballad that became the title track, “How Deep is the Ocean,” which was written by Irving Berlin in 1932. As the project grew, it became a retrospective with a new take of music of the past 60 years. There’s big band swing with Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star,” pop vocal jazz with Michael Frank’s “Eggplant,” 1960’s Memphis Horns R&B with “You Got What it Takes” by Joe Tex, a Bossa Nova “So Nice,” a funk-jazz rendition of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” and a Mambo-influenced “Everybody’s Talking,” a folk tune made famous in the movie “Midnight Cowboy.”

The day after the album’s release, Dolan said her first Internet sale was from Australia. She also moved a lot of the CDs at the release shows, the highlight being the Carson City Jazz Festival.

“There was a big crowd and it was there for a concert,” she said. “The summer feels almost like a dream because we were moving so fast.”

  •   ‘How Deep is The Ocean’
    CD Release End of Summer Party for Locals
    Sept. 13, 1-5 p.m., the Beacon, South Lake Tahoe
    Band: Paul Covarelli, guitar
    Joe Dolister, bass (on the album)
    Steve Self , drums
    Peter Supersano, keyboards
    Doug Coomler, sax

               How Deep is the Ocean

    1. “What if I Loved You” 2 minutes, 37 seconds

    Written by Joey Gian. Copyright Joey Gian Music and United Lion Music

    Lead Vocal and Harmonica: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano: Peter Supersano

    Drums: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Horn Section: Ron Starr – Tenor Sax; Andrew Woodard – Trumpet; Rich Lewis – Trombone

    1. “You Got What it Takes” 4:24
      Written by Joe Tex. Copyright Sony/ATV Tree Publishing

    Lead Vocal and Harmonica: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano and Hammond B3: Peter Supersano

    Drums: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Guitar: David Grantham

    Horn Section: Ron Starr – Tenor and Baritone Saxes; Andrew Woodard – Trumpet; Rich Lewis – Trombone

    3. “How Deep is the Ocean” 4:41

    Written by Irving Berlin. Copyright Irving Berlin Music Company

    Lead Vocal: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano and Hammond B3: Peter Supersano

    Drums: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Guitar: David Grantham

    Tenor Sax: Ron Starr

    1. “Summer Soft” 4:29

    Written by Stevie Wonder. Copyright Black Bull Music and Jobete Music Co. Inc.

    Lead Vocal: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano and Rhodes: Peter Supersano

    Drums and Percussion: Tony Savage plays Zildjian® Cymbals and Vic Firth® Drumsticks exclusively

    Upright Bass: Joe Dolister

    David Grantham: Guitar

    Shaker: Tom Gordon

    1. “I Was Doing All Right” 4:38

    Written by George and Ira Gershwin. Copyright Wb Music Corp.

    Lead Vocal and Harmonica: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano: Peter Supersano

    Drums: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Guitar: David Grantham

    Horn Section: Ron Starr – Tenor Sax; Andrew Woodard – Trumpet; Rich Lewis – Trombone

    1. “Everybody’s Talking” 3:50

    Written by Fred Neil. Copyright Third Palm Music

    Lead Vocal and Harmonica: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano, Rhodes and Synthesizer: Peter Supersano

    Drums and Percussion: Tony Savage

    Upright Bass: Joe Dolister

    Dustin Budish: Violin and Viola

    1. “Waiting in Vain”  4:51

    Written by Bob Marley. Copyright Blue Mountain Music LTD.

    Lead and Background Vocals: Carolyn Dolan

    Rhodes and Hammond B3: Peter Supersano

    Drums: Tony Savage

    Bass: Joe Dolister

    Guitar: David Grantham

    1. “Eggplant”  4:31

    Written by Michael P. Franks. Copyright Mississippi Mud Music Co.

    Lead Vocal: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano and Hammond B3: Peter Supersano

    Drums and Vibes: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Guitar: David Grantham

    Tenor Sax: Ron Starr

    1. “But Beautiful” 6:01

    Written by Johnny Burke & James Van Heusen

    Copyright Bourne Co-Burke & Van Heusen Bourne Co-Burke & Van Heusen and Dorsey Brothers Music

    Lead Vocal: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano: Peter Supersano

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Drums: Andy Heglund

    1. “Another Star” 5:23

    Written by Stevie Wonder. Copyright Jobete Music Co. Inc. and Black Bull Music

    Lead Vocal: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano: Peter Supersano

    Drums: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Guitar: David Grantham

    Horn Section: Ron Starr – Tenor Sax; Andrew Woodard – Trumpet; Rich Lewis – Trombone

    Finger Snapers: Carolyn, Peter, Rich, Hans, Ron and David

    11. “So Nice” (Summer Samba) 2:58
    Written by Norman Gimbel, Marcos Valle & Paulo Valle

    copyright Words West Lic and Songs of Universal,Inc. Obo Duchess Music Corporation

    Lead Vocal: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano: Peter Supersano

    Drums and Vibes: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Percussion: Tony Savage

    12. “Blue Light Boogie” 4:35

    Written by Jessie Mae Robinson. Copyright Cherio Corp. Kobalt Music Pub America Inc. (BMI)

    Lead and Background Vocals: Carolyn Dolan

    Harmonica: Carolyn Dolan

    Piano and Hammond B3: Peter Supersano

    Drums: Andy Heglund

    Upright Bass: Hans Halt

    Guitar: David Grantham

    Horn Section: Ron Starr – Tenor and Baritone Saxes; Andrew Woodard – Trumpet, Rich Lewis – Trombone

    13. “Peace” 4:58
    Written by Horace Silver. Copyright Ecaroh Music Inc.
    Lead Vocal: Carolyn Dolan

    Steinway Piano: Peter Supersano

  • Carolyn Dolan Band

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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