Austin, Texas, has been a fertile proving ground for legendary blues guitarists. Some, most notably Stevie Ray Vaughan, have emerged to international acclaim. Others, like Derek O'Brien, make a living and earn the respect of their peers while mostly playing in the city's many clubs and studios. In recent years, Carolyn Wonderland—a revered player on the local scene since her arrival in 2001—has become a rising global star in the genre.
In 2018, this incandescent electric fingerstyle guitarist became the first woman to play lead guitar in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, following such luminary musicians as Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, and Buddy Whittington in that role. And while she's made more than a dozen albums under her own name and with collaborators over the years, her next album, slated for early fall release, will be issued by Alligator Records, the world's largest indie blues label, and was produced by the brilliant songwriter and 6-string deadeye Dave Alvin.
At Nashville's City Winery, Wonderland demoed and talked about her main guitar, Patty the Blueshawk, an Austin-built Tone I/O amp, her approach to lap steel, the genesis behind her aggressive fingerstyle approach, and much more. Take a look.