Caroline Smith

Merging ’90s R&B and neo-soul with her indie-rock roots, Caroline Smith’s new music has settled comfortably into a new backdrop as she takes a step from girl to woman. Half About Being a Woman is a record about self-acceptance and growing into yourself; it’s about going back to the roots of ‘feel-good’ music. “I wanted to find my way back to the reason why I started playing music in the first place,” says Smith. “Over the last year I began to embrace that being a strong, confident, opinionated woman is something to be proud of, not subdued. I have to embrace where my roots are and stay true to who I am: an unabashed fan of 90′s R&B, pop, and neo-soul.”

While some might be surprised by the transition, the truth is that Caroline has never stopped evolving. From folky beginnings and an indie rock second album, she has been consistently pushing herself to new heights. With soaring vocals and catchy melodies at the heart of all three albums, Caroline is settling into a sound that feels more like home. “I feel I’ve finally created something that is a nod to some of my favorite records while being able to use my own voice to illustrate my personal transition into woman hood; That time in a woman’s life when her ‘fat butt’ becomes her ‘phat ass’. I wanted to make music to celebrate that and to encourage other women to do the same.” This glimpse of an artist in flux was captured perfectly in the PBS documentary on Caroline, My Way Back Home.

The video for “Magazine”, created by director/editor Dan Huiting (Bon Iver, The National, Local Natives, Andrew Bird) and DP Ryan Thompson, perfectly captures the the theme of a woman actively embracing her femininity and transcending societal expectations. The album, released by United Interests, was produced by Jake Hanson (guitarist- Mason Jennings, Solid Gold), recorded at Near North Studios by Brett Bullion (Dark Dark Dark, Chris Walla) and mixed by Paul Marino (Mint Condition). It includes contributions from long-time bandmates Jesse Schuster and Arlen Peiffer (Cloud Cult) along with several guest musicians including Mike Lewis (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird). The band will be touring through the fall to support the album – starting with an expected sold-out show at First Avenue in their home town of Minneapolis, MN.

Folk music is what the people sing. Big Mamma Thornton brought us Rock n Roll. Sam Cooke helped define soul. The storytelling of Grandmaster Flash helped lay the foundation of Hip Hop. These are all genres that have their roots in American Folk Music. Like the great artists before him, Kwesi K continues the legacy of Folk Music. The Alaskan-Ghanaian-Ohioian songwriter uses contemporary stylings that pull from the diasporas of American heritage. Soulful and simple, Kwesi K draws his listeners in with colorful story lines and a melodic fervor. Kwesi is a true American folk musician celebrating the history of this county's ancestors and their music

Ayo Awosika

Jazz/folk singer-songwriter, Ayo Awosika has soaked in the musical history of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Carmen McCrae; absorbed the songwriting knowledge of Joni Mitchell and Lizz Wright, while carving a niche for herself as a vocalist with prowess beyond her 24 years. Growing up in Northern Virginia outside Washington D.C., Ayo was exposed to the sounds of Luciano Pavarotti, Sade, Fela Kuti, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, Barbara Streisand, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, and by the age of 14 a music career was the only one she could choose to passionately pursue.

The classically trained vocalist has transferred her aptitude for opera and art song to the world of jazz and beyond. Ayo aims to be a musician with more substance, more ability and more originality; an artist who has something to say. With a heritage rooted in West Africa and her travels abroad, Ayo has tweaked her style - mixing the complexity of jazz and soul with the honesty of folk and roots music, working to find the place where these worlds meet.

Welcome to the ever evolving world of Ayo… enjoy…

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Caroline Smith with Kwesi K, Ayo Awosika

Tuesday, March 4 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM at The Boot & Saddle