Singer Carolyn Light Bringing Folk (and Other) Sounds to Two Boots Pizza

Carolyn Light

Carolyn Light’s agile, floating voice is the kind you’d want to hear after you die, just as you arrive to your personal Heaven. It would also be at home on an ancient ship singing a sea shanty, around a roaring campfire on a journey out West, and tonight, at Two Boots Jersey City.

The local folk singer will be highlighted tonight, April 9, at the pizza place as part of monthly series Art House at Two Boots, which kicked off last month with musician David Ribyat. Light, who was one of Ribyat’s guests in March, will also play with several well-known local musicians like Chrissy Roberts, Roland Ramos, Liam Brown and Chris Davis.

Light started out studying liturgical music, and then musical theater, but eventually settled into folk music. “I just loved it and taught myself that music, that sound,” says the singer-songwriter, who also taught herself banjo two years ago and also plays the flute.

“I just love music, the roots of music and I love storytelling. Folk has a real tradition in combining story and song–two things that I love put into one,” says Light, who is also an actress, playwright and director and studied drama at SUNY Purchase.

She adds that she is, however, interested in multiple genres. “The folk music I write tends to be very fusion-oriented…I think music’s universal and can be put together in interesting ways like, you can play Indian music and mix it with bluegrass and make it work and it can be amazing,” Light says.

While she has gained a following for her solo work, she has also been part of several collaborative acts and bands like the disbanded Folderol and her current group, Patchwork, with guitarist and sitarist Daniel Pierce.

The duo is currently working on a concept album with multiple musicians based on a Norwegian fairy tale, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” with an Americana twist.

“It’s about a girl who marries a bear who turns out to be a prince, as often happens in fairy tales,” she says with a laugh. “But then she loses him and goes on a journey to find him and bring him home. It’s in a similar tradition with fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast but I think it’s interesting that the girl goes on the quest instead.”

Collaborating with multiple musicians from multiple genres, as she will tonight, is a great way to grow as an artist, Light says.

“We’ve got incredibly talented people like Chrissy Roberts with this Sarah McLachlan thing going on; Chris Davis, who is very bluegrass/country; and Liam Brown, who is completely Irish. We’re playing some originals, some covers and a wide range of genres. It’s going to be really fun it will highlight what all of these people do, how I can sound with different people and how genres mix together,” she says.

“Whenever you’re working with any other musician, that person gives you insight into your own work…(and) can really bring you into focus and show you what you’re doing,” she says. “Working with these different people has allowed different sounds to come into my own work and I’m excited to get their sounds to come together.”

Carolyn Light performs tonight, April 9, from 8 pm to 10 pm at Two Boots Jersey City, 133 Newark Ave. Admission is free. For more information, visit Carolyn Light’s Facebook page.

Evan Solana-Cardona photo

Summer Dawn Hortillosa

is a freelance arts and entertainment writer whose work has appeared in the Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal, the International and other publications. She is also a creative writer and theatrical director.