The music business in the world today is 100 percent different than it was nine months ago. Musicians, stage techs, venue owners, promoters and others have had to reinvent themselves and adapt to a new way of life.
This is the story of Carolyn Dolan and how she is keeping her music alive. Based in South Lake Tahoe, Dolan has performed regionally and nationally for more than 30 years. She is an amazing vocalist and a highly respected harmonica player. She can sing a powerful blues or R&B tune, jump into a smooth jazz standard, or a gentle country ballad.
“I would like to see myself back singing and performing live music,” Dolan said. “It’s deeply missed by musicians and audiences alike. As a self-employed musician, it’s how I make my living, and because of Covid, the industry disappeared.”
Dolan was approached last month by the Reno based nonprofit jazz organization For The Love Of Jazz to participate in a live studio session at Tanglewood Productions. FTLOJ invested in an online platform for jazz musicians to promote themselves and their music to a broad audience. Each Wednesday, FTLOJ features a live studio performance with different jazz artists in our community on its YouTube channel, “FTLOJ Live Studio Sessions.” To find a one-stop shop jazz visit www.renojazz.org.
Recently, FTLOJ featured “The Carolyn Dolan Quartet.” Her rendition of “That’s All” garnered much attention.. The jazz standard from “Great American Songbook” was written in 1952 by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes. It was first recorded by Nat King Cole in 1953.
The Carolyn Dolan Quartet features Dolan on vocals and harmonica, Peter Supersano on piano, Hans Halt on upright bass and Tony Savage on drums.
Which music from the jazz standards is Dolan’s favorite to sing?
“Jazz standards that lean toward the bluesy side of jazz like Billie Holiday, Louis Jordan and Louis Prima featuring Keely Smith from the jump swing era of the 1930s and ‘40s and, of course, Ella Fitzgerald,” she said. “I learned about all jazz standards from her singing songs from ‘Great American Songbook,’ the Bible of American jazz.”
The Carolyn Dolan Quartet will perform a holiday Live Music Sessions with FTLOJ. Look for it in December on the FTLOJ Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Dolan has made a music career leading many bands, including her 1990s Western swing, rockabilly and bluegrass band The Outpsyders. She was inducted into the Sacramento Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2015. She has won many other prominent awards through the years including Best of Tahoe Female Singer in 1995. She was also nominated for a Forte Award in 2016 and 2017 for best vocalist. And recently nominated by the Tahoe Arts Alliance for Best Musician 2020.
Since 2017 she works as a board member with SPAH (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica), dedicating her service to the advancement of the harmonica to the community at large. In 2019, Dolan was endorsed by the Easttop Harmonica Company and published in a recent book, “Masters of the Harmonica,” by Margie Goldsmith in which she shares her craft as a harmonica player and performer.
Check out, www.carolyndolan.com and like, Carolyn Dolan Music on Facebook. Please continue to support live music and let’s get our stages back! Please check out FTLOJ Live Music Sessions on YouTube.