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. In pre-pandemic times, you could find her performing at house concerts and in venues around Denver, sometimes with her close friend, folk singer-songwriter Jen Hitt as the duo The Truth About August. Now, until live shows are safer to resume, she performs via livestream over Facebook and YouTube, as well as private Zoom performances.
Most heavily influenced by the women who helped define the folk/Americana genre before her, Carolyn’s sound is a nod to artists like Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lucy Kaplansky, Susan Gibson, and Patty Griffin. Her lyrics are clear and deliberate, often simple on the surface, yet layered with meaning and a sense of vulnerability. Meanwhile, her driving acoustic guitar rhythms and detailed fingerpicking serve as scaffolding for 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. 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 is out now!