Although born and raised in Colorado Springs, Carolyn Light has become such a musical fixture in Jersey City over the last few years that some people have come to think of her as the voice of Jersey City.
So perhaps it is fitting that she will hold a CD unveiling performance at Art House Productions on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m.
She and her friends will perform a live concert to mark the release of her first original full-length album “Death And Whimsy.”
The event is free to the public, and will include guest performers such as Cabaret Sauvignon, Roland Ramos Vienna, Chrissy Roberts, David Ribyat, Chris Davis, Glen Coleman, and Daniel Pierce.
The album includes robust instrumentation that includes cello, piano, drums, accordion, and guitar, while fusing the genres of jazz, Appalachian, Reggae, Indian, and Bluegrass. Her signature banjo is present for many of the songs on the album.
“The album is based on the understanding that life is both beautiful and painful at the same time,” Light said. “In our human experience, ‘death’ and ‘whimsy’ are not two separate things and we hurt a lot and hope a lot. It’s about devastating pain seen through the lens of insistent hope.”
Jersey City as her hometown
Light moved to Jersey City about five years ago, and has since become part of the community.
“I think of Jersey City is my hometown,” she said.
She started studying classical music at age 5. By the time she was 9, she had started vocal training in liturgical, musical theatre, and operatic styles of singing. At the age of 17, she sang at Carnegie Hall as a soprano for the National Youth Choir.
“I think of Jersey City is my home town.” – Carolyn Light
It wasn’t until 2011 that Carolyn truly found her voice as a singer/songwriter. While she had always written songs and was well known for her vocal prowess, she had not presented her songwriting work to an audience until she co-founded the Jersey City band Folderol, in which she served as both the lead singer and primary songwriter.
The music was received with extreme enthusiasm from fans, and after the group disbanded, Carolyn took her new-found confidence in her songwriting skills and founded Patchwork Alchemy with her good friend (and talented guitar player) Daniel Pierce.
Over the last five years, Light has become a regular voice around Jersey City, influenced by classic and contemporary folk music, especially performers like Simon & Garfunkel, Oh Hellos, and Drawing from the Machine.
She said her performance at Art House will celebrate the release of her new CD, which she said took about two years to record – although bits and pieces existed before then.
She said she is mostly a local performer doing gigs around town but also as far north as Boston, Syracuse, and Westchester.
“I would like to go to Nashville,” she said.
She said she has a pretty diverse audience, including people from their 20s all the way up. She said she has performed a number of historic songs, including things such as Appalachian dirges.
One critic described her music as “timeless.”
Art House Productions is located at 136 Magnolia Ave. in Jersey City.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.