Karen’s sound is a fusion of jazz, folk, retro R&B and soft rock. Think Diana Ross meets Norah Jones. Her road has wound through personal and professional peaks and troughs, picking up song writing accolades along the way such as finalist in the 2007 Australian Song Writing Competition Award, and in the ABC Song Writing Competition for writers over 30. But it was her dream to record a stunning debut album of her original songs that has been the driver for this independent Australian singer songwriter.
Engaging the top jazz talent the NSW North Coast has to offer, including Steve Russell on keyboards, Jim Kelly on Guitar, Greg Lyon on Bass, Dave Sanders on Drums and with Martha Baartz’s astonishing saxophone, Karen’s debut album, Carry Me Away is both a culmination of her personal musical journey and an indication that Australian jazz is still very much alive and well.
As Karen’s silky yet assertive voice has matured, it has become nicely frayed at the edges—picked up those coffee stains and cigarette burns you need to be a convincing jazz diva. Her musical journey has followed the tried and true path from musicals to pop to blues and jazz and her expressions of her own journey are where it’s all at for her now. Karen’s melodies will resonate with anyone of any age who has lived a little, but there is something of the ingénue that remains in the lyrics, a kind of sweet-natured refusal to accept the blues premise that things—and people—can always get worse. Hovering around the edges of the lush instrumentals and honeyed vocals of this debut is an endearing refusal to grow up, an adolescent fighting spirit that speaks to love and loss, the birds and bees—life and all that jazz.
Karen engages the very best musicians to play and record her songs depending on the gig, the location and circumstances.
She is reguarly supported by the awesome talents of jazz pianist Steve Russell, virtuoso guitarist Jim Kelly, bassists - Jack Thorncraft, Greg Lyon & Tierry Thosmalle, the delightful saxophonist Martha Baartz, and the innovative Dave Sanders on drums.
"Carry Me Away". Independently recorded and produced at Nashua Rd Recording Studio in the Byron Bay Hinterland, the album is getting plenty of radio play and getting great reviews.
Tracks getting significant radio play include:
I got your message
Crazy Kind of Thing
Wrap it up
On The Verge
A Charmed Life
Alstonville Chanteuse to release album
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Story by Mick Daley When Alstonville chanteuse Karen Hanna hit her forties she thought her singin...
Story by Mick Daley
When Alstonville chanteuse Karen Hanna hit her forties she thought her singing career was over. Till one fateful morning a few
years ago. “I was listening to the radio one morning and this
beautiful song came on – I don’t remember the name of the song or who sung it, but it really struck me as a beautifully written melody and the words were very powerful. When it finished the DJ announced that the singer, who recorded the song at 60 years of age, hadn’t had any success at all until her forties!”
“That was a real ‘light bulb’ moment for me. I was overwhelmed with a wonderful feeling and the conviction that it’s never too late – I could still have a musical career.”
So it was that in 2006 she decided to resurrect a career that had too long lain fallow.
She’d been a promising singer in her twenties, performing in duos and bands around Sydney. She had a passion for jazz and the R&B sounds of the 70s and 80s and seemed set on an artistic career.
When she got married and family life took over, for fifteen years music took a back seat. Then one day she turned on the radio ...
To kick-start her second bite at the cherry, she took up the piano, learnt some simple chords, and immediately began writing songs. In 2007 she was a finalist in the Australian Song Writers Association Awards and found herself in the top five of Sydney ABC radio’s Acoustica songwriting competition.
She wrote prodigiously, finding songs came easily to her as her dream gained momentum.
By 2009 she had enough for an album, and she hired the best in the business to record it. The Lismore University scene is a focal point for the cream of the jazz and R&B players on the north coast and she engaged Jim Kelly and Steve Russell to produce and play guitar and piano respectively. Along with them came bassist Greg Lyon, drummer Dave Sanders, saxophonist Martha Baartz and renowned vocalist Leigh Carriage.
With the guiding hands of these professionals the recording process was an easy one and Karen built up the confidence for the next step - launching the album with live shows.
"My official launch is at the Lismore City Bowling Club on August 31st, so fingers crossed I'll have a good crowd there to rev up. After that I'm planning on gigs on the Gold Coast and Brisbane. If the album does well you never know, I might end up singing in Sydney bars again."
Karen's album Carry Me Away, will be available at the launch.
Rhythms Magazine issue Nov 2010
a positive review
Live performances feature a blend of beautifully crafted original tunes, favourite jazz standards, soulful blues & blissful ballads.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.