Peace Meal
Bismeaux Productions

Carolyn Wonderland is a Houston-born guitarist and songwriter with a long resume as a session player and bandleader. This, her seventh CD, sports an impressive array of production talent including Ray Benson, Larry Campbell (Levon Helm) and ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith, but it’s Wonderland’s soulful belting and impressive axe work that take center stage. She’s often compared to Janis Joplin, even though her voice is smoother and has a wider range of expression. She tips her hat to Joplin with “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do,” a Joplin composition that gets a jaunty delta blues arrangement, while she shows off her slashing slide guitar licks on “Dust My Broom.” Pianist Cole El-Saleh adds some syncopated N’awlins fonk to “Only God Knows When,” a second line romp with Wonderland delivering a playful vocal and a short gritty slide guitar solo. She closes the album with “Shine On,” a mellow profession of faith with her gospel-flavored vocal supported by El-Saleh’s sanctified piano work. — J. POET