Carolyn Shulman is a Denver-based folk singer-songwriter whose connection with music has been a lifelong affair. She came by her love of music and all things guitar-related naturally. Her father has played guitar as a hobby for most of his life, so when Carolyn expressed an interest in learning to play, he brought home a kid-sized acoustic guitar perfect for a nine year-old's hands and set her up with lessons. By the time she was fourteen, she was writing songs and playing in coffee shops and restaurants in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
Carolyn continued playing, writing, and performing as a college student at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She played multiple college shows and stages such as Houston's storied folk venue Anderson Fair, and she performed at the 2001 Houston Women's Festival along with artists like Susan Gibson, Edie Carey, Patrice Pike, and Ruthie Foster. In 2002, her songwriting earned her a spot in the University Songwriters Showcase at the Kerrville Folk Festival.
After college, Carolyn continued to play music, but her performance schedule and creative pace slowed down while she earned a law degree. She practiced law in Houston for seven years, focusing on Social Security disability law, and in 2013, she and her husband welcomed their daughter to the world. These life-changing experiences continue to help shape her worldview and inform her songwriting.
In 2014, Carolyn moved to Denver, Colorado with her family. Viewing this transition as an opportunity, she decided to stop practicing law in order to spend more time with her young daughter and refocus on her lifelong passion of music. She began writing new songs again, which seemed to flow out of her as if awakening from a dormancy. Carolyn also connected with her close friend, folk singer-songwriter Jen Hitt, and they began performing together around Denver as the duo The Truth About August. The fun experience of performing live again led Carolyn to pursue solo shows as well, which is primarily how she performs now.
Most heavily influenced by the women who helped define contemporary folk and Americana music before her, Carolyn’s sound is a nod to artists like Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky, Catie Curtis, Susan Gibson, and Patty Griffin. She also cites classic Americana rockers like Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young as influences. Her lyrics are deliberate, layered with meaning and vulnerability. Meanwhile, her driving acoustic guitar rhythms and detailed fingerpicking support her vocal melodies.
On May 21, 2021, Carolyn released her debut album, Grenadine & Kerosene, recorded at Cinder Sound Studio in Longmont, Colorado. She worked with veteran producer and award-winning singer-songwriter John McVey for this project. Shulman and McVey brought in a band of seasoned musicians including Michael O'Connor, Eric Moon, Christian Teele, Chris Engleman and Kramer Kelling. Natalie Rae Padilla played fiddle and Glenn Taylor played pedal steel on two tracks, Greg Schochet made an appearance on mandolin, and fellow Colorado-based singer-songwriters Edie Carey, Megan Burtt, Jen Morrison, and Jen Hitt lent their support as background vocalists.
Grenadine & Kerosene has received FM and internet radio play from folk DJs around the globe, landing it on the Folk Radio Chart within 10 days of its release. It remained on the Folk Radio Charts for three months, ultimately climbing to the number 22 spot and placing Carolyn among June 2022's top 40 most-spun artists on folk radio.
Music critics have also praised the album. Dave Franklin, author of the music blog Dancing About Architecture, calls it "a fantastic album, full of great songs," while Jennifer Perez with Denver Patch found it to be "an introspective musical journey that is equal parts tender as it is powerful."
Following her successful debut album release, Carolyn was selected from a pool of 200 contestants to perform as one of ten finalists in the 2022 Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase on the Planet Bluegrass main stage. Currently, Carolyn is working once again with producer John McVey to record her second full-length album, tentatively planned for release in late 2023.
To book Carolyn for your venue or for an intimate house concert, please reach out here. She looks forward to sharing her music with you!