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.
During the pandemic, Carolyn began a monthly livestream series called Sunday Night Spotlight, featuring a different guest artist each month. She found she enjoyed connecting with fans all over the country via livestream so much that she plans to continue this fun and engaging livestream series for the foreseeable future. She also began booking private, virtual house concerts for audiences over Zoom and will continue those offerings as well.
Now that live shows are safer to resume, Carolyn is very excited to return to performing live in outdoor spaces. Reach out to book her in your venue's outdoor space, or for an intimate, private house concert for you and your friends in your yard.
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 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 enjoyed remarkable success from its earliest days. The album 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. Music critics across the board have 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." With this record, Carolyn fulfilled her lifelong dream of releasing a fully produced album of her own songs. It is her humble offering to you, and she hopes you love it as much as she loved creating it. Grenadine & Kerosene is out now in all the places where music is found.