Carla Ulbrich
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Carla Ulbrich

New Jersey, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | INDIE

New Jersey, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1998
Solo Comedy Folk




"Dr Demento"

"Sick Humor is heartfelt, and, of course, very funny." - The Demento Society

"Live review: thoughtful, funny, sensitive"

"... a really good show. Her material is pretty remarkable. I find it thoughtful, funny, sensitive, kind of out in "left field,"-- like I used to find Steve Martin's humor... clever, a talented guitarist, and a stage presence that convinces audiences that the characters she sings about, she really cares about, or she knows something about them... the monologs between tunes really work tying the songs to universal (as well as unique) experiences audiences can identify."
-Carlos McCauley - WFIT DJ


The cheeky Ulbrich, who writes perky, kischy light-hearted ditties such as "The Wedgie" and "The Man Who Changes the Light Bulbs", has a gift for making catchy jingles from mundane experiences. - Arkansas Times

"Former Babysitter"

I dropped Carla on her head when she was a baby. - Peri P

"Seegar Swanson: intelligent, clever"

"Very talented, very funny, very personable, and an easy act to work with.
We would be hard pressed to imagine anyone not enjoying a set from this young woman ... thoughtful and intelligent, sometimes clever observations about life are written in an often wry and humorous manner. They're placed over very strong melodies and guitar work that is recognized as some of the best in her genre" - Fiddler's Green Coffeehouse Series

"Professional Smart Aleck CD review: Tantalizingly Erudite?"

Carla comes back! She was here a few years ago and had people rolling in the aisles with her irreverent and self-deprecating humor. She can play and sing fine, but what she does best is write these hilarious little ditties that you have to play over a few times because you were laughing too hard at the last line to understand the next. The songs are tantalizingly erudite. If you only go to one show at Acoustic Sounds this year, this here should be it. If you can't make the show and want to know what's so funny, visit or e-mail her at and ask her how to join the Difficult Last Name Club. - Nightflying Magazine

"Live Review "Goold old sarcasm""

Folk is an interesting genre in that through all of the changes in the music industry which have led to musical styles going off in a million different directions, folk has managed to maintain its humble grass roots appeal. The songs are still heartfelt mixtures of wistfulness and joy, with messages ranging from gentle, often corny humor to political outrage over grave injustices and human suffering, and the performers are still known as some of the nicest, most gregarious people you could ever meet. I hadn't ever associated folk music with good old sarcasm and angst, however, until I saw Carla Ulbrich do her thing.

I admit my exposure to folk music is pretty limited to childhood memories of the gentle harmonies of Peter, Paul, and Mary and, much later, the bitter protest tunes of Phil Ochs. Carla Ulbrich's brand of folk is of yet a different type; she uses it as a vehicle to air her frustrations with bad relationships, the unfairness of the songwriting business, and revealing too much over a late night phone conversation while doped up on cold medicine. If that sounds like something you'd hear on the Dr. Demento show, you're right, she's definitely at home there, but her considerable musical ability and lyrical cleverness earn her a place alongside “straight” folk acts, and her snappy, somewhat cynical style is a nice alternative to the sincerity so lovingly poked fun at in A Mighty Wind.

What immediately impressed me about Carla's performance was her strong, clear voice, girlish but not too delicate, which made nearly every word very easy to follow. This is especially appreciated in songs in which the lyrics are delivered in rapid succession, such as in “Therapy Works,” in which she rattles off a list of the ways she's “changed” thanks to her imaginary therapy sessions (since as she said, she's never in one place long enough to see a real therapist on a regular basis and can only fantasize about having one), complete with a literary reference that made my English teacher's ears perk up:

"And I no longer constantly exaggerate every single thing all of the time/And I have ceased endless rambling in run-on sentences that make no sense and that no one seems to care about except maybe me and even that is sometimes questionable and I watch as people's eyes glaze over as if they had been up for 3 days straight studying for an exam or maybe driving all night because they forgot to reserve a hotel room and they were in Florida and they were afraid to pull over and take a nap because they had just read Flannery O'Connor's 'A Good Man is Hard to Find.'"
Most of Carla's material has to do with the difficulty of getting over a failed relationship, either because the guy is too perfect (“Please Do Something Stupid”), too habit-forming (“It Reminds Me of You”) or if the possibility of winning over a rival is just too tempting (“What if Your Girlfriend Was Gone?”). Although nearly every song is clearly written from a woman's perspective, it isn't to such an extreme that a guy in similar circumstances couldn't relate to it, and she tempers any inclination toward male bashing with a healthy dose of self-depreciation. And therein lies Carla's charm: just under the caustic zingers that pepper her lyrics is genuine warmth and even a sense of optimism in spite of everything, delivered with some skillful guitar strumming at a toe-tapping pace. Maybe she's not such an anomaly in the folk world after all.

© Copyright 02/24/2004 - Toxic Universe

"Sick Humor CD review: mucho laughing"

"Getting Sick= Fun music: Carla Ulbrich demonstrates"

I must admit that when Carla Ulbrich's latest CD entitled "Sick Humor" found its way to our desks, there was mucho laughing as the ditties streamed by. But when track four called "Prednisone" started playing, our smirks fell right off our faces. It is here that we learned that at an ungodly young age, ulbrich suffered two strokes and kidney failure. Already established as a musician, she found herself having to relearn the guitar from scratch. Under her belt, she ahd teacher credit (teaching at several colleges), had written music instruction books, toured all over the country and garnered the 1998 Merlefet's Chris Austin Song Contest, Country Category, Second Place, while snagging the 1998 Gamble Rogers Folk Fest Fingerpicking contest, second place. But once she was struck down with illness all that changed. Well, not entirely. As Ulbrich found herself spending countless hours in doctors' waiting rooms, she started penning funny parodies about her experiences as a patient as well as zeroing in on the absurdity of the health care system. Her third release, Sick Humor, offer hilarious parodies of popular songs as well as including parodies of her own songs. And with titles like "What If Your Butt Was Gone," "Little Brown Jug," and "I Got tremors," no wonder Ulbrich is an audience favorite as well as being included on Dr. Demento's 2005 Basement Tapes compilation. An award-winning songwriter and "Professional Smart Aleck" (her words), Ulbrich has been proudly compared to the likes of Weird Al, Chet Atkins, and a bologna sandwich while her reciews read "She must have been a difficult child..." Ulbrich is currently touring. You can get her tour dates from
edie - Dig This Real - Dig This Real Magazine

"Her Fabulous Debut CD review: This CD Changed My life"

Some satire comes on flashy, like a Kung Fu cowboy, full of fancy-ass high kicking and swoosh! swoosh! sound effects punctuated with an exaggerated crunch of flesh and bone meeting flesh and bone. It leaves you rolling on the floor, holding your sides with laughter and screaming for it to stop. But there's also satire of another sort that comes on like a tiny wizened prune of a Tai Chi master, with moves so slow they almost seem to be going backwards, and sound effects recollective of an eyelash falling on a Persian carpet. It barely raises more than a smile and, because it doesn't break your funny bone, you barely notice it until you find it's rearranged your entire sense of humor. I love the first kind for its craft and cleverness and the wonderful catharsis it provokes (there are few things more satisfying than a damn good guffaw), but I treasure the second for a sort of reverse catharsis that seems to put something in my soul that wasn't there before.

Carla Kay Ulbrich is not a Kung Fu cowboy.

Nor is she "the new Christine Lavin." (Hell, there's nothing wrong with the old one that I can see.) She is a drop-dead gorgeous blonde with killer guitar chops, and, in some ways, that's a pity, given the tendency of the prevailing ethos not to notice anything beyond the obvious. Have thrown that dog it's obligatory bone, I shall now move on to what else she is and what a masterful CD she's come out with.

Certainly, credit must go to the redoubtable Jack Williams, who produced the disc and to "A Man Called Wrycraft" from Toronto, who did the art direction, design and layout, but ultimately, it's Carla Ulbrich who bears the responsibility for the whole project, as the expression of her personal vision.

I'm going to eschew the usual approach of commenting on the various tracks and describing the cover and the booklet and try to speak to the vision itself. Like even the greatest records, some tracks are "stronger" or "better" than others. Suffice to say the musicianship on this disc is exceptional and Jack Williams's production is a model of how to make this music shine -- nobody overplays, not even once, a tribute to the artistry of both Williams and Ulbrich who, between them, have heavy enough chops to play all the notes.

Ulbrich is a songwriter of uncommon subtlety, a mistress of verbal nuance with an all too rare gift for melody, a wizened little Tai Chi master in a masquerade so effective many, if not most, will miss the point, but that's okay -- this record works well on a superficial level too, another mark of mastery.

As to the cover and the booklet, it's one of the most quietly brilliant and funny pieces of record packaging I've ever seen. From it's title and the name of Ulbrich's record company, to the color scheme, to the chord she's playing in the photo on the back tray card and the graphic on the disc itself, it's definitely more than the sum of its parts and keeps revealing new delights with repeated lookings.

Is she clever? (Does the Pope bowl?) Is she funny? (Are the shoes of the Fisherman made by Brunswick?) Carla Ulbrich's wit, as demonstrated here, is a gestalt manifesting on many levels at once in an artistic vision that stays precisely within a set of small boundaries; "Her Fabulous Debut"--a single, tightly compact and exquisite bud rose, rather than a boastful, eye-grabbing, big-ass bold bouquet, the work of Tai Chi master, rather than a Kung Fu cowboy.

I hestitate to say things like "This CD changed my life," but harkening back to what I said in the first paragraph about the two different sorts of satire and reverse catharsis, to say anything less would be dishonest. The change was not on the order of a major religious conversion or falling in love for the first time). It didn't have to be. A marvelous little record, about as close to being perfectly true to itself as anything I've ever run on to, "Her Fabulous Debut" has added something precious to my life that wasn't there before, the way a really splendid sunrise or your first spring in the Texas Hill Country does. Bring it into yours and it might just have the same effect.

For the roses,
Al Grierson, Folk_DJ - FOLK DJ

"The Queen of Parody"

She's one of Dr. Demento's favorites, and now we know why. How many women can sing in Klingon, after all? Carla Ulbrich, the Queen of Parody, can make surgical procedures a laughing matter, as she ably demonstrated Friday at the Minstrel in Morris Township, where she crooned about losing one's derriere, stealing boyfriends and experiencing hospital life in all its invasive glory.

If you want to start your Monday on an upbeat note, check out Carla's song about copyrighting everyone's favorite four-letter word. The good news is that this endearingly silly South Carolinian now makes her home in Somerset, NJ. So your odds of catching this funny bone infection again should be pretty good. - Morristown Green


"Her Fabulous Debut" (CD)
"Professional Smart Aleck"(live CD)
"Sick Humor" (CD)
"Leftovers" (CD)
"Live From Outer Space" (CD)

"Totally Average Woman" (CD)

"Live at FuMPFest" (CD)



Carla Ulbrich, Professional Smart Aleck, is a comical singer/songwriter/ guitarist from Clemson, South Carolina and currently living in New Jersey. Insert your own punchline here.

Carla has a love of wordplay and a keen observational eye. She is primarily known for her humorous songs about such topics as wedgies, Waffle House, Klingons, and how rich she would be if she had the copyright on the 'F' Word. She is sometimes compared to Tom Lehrer.

She cites her biggest musical influences as Sesame Street, camp songs, and cat food commercials.

The Professional Smart Aleck has toured all over the US and England, and has appeared on ABC, USA TV, the BBC, Dr. Demento, and The Bob and Sherrie Show and venues such as the Falcon Ridge and Kerrville Folk Festivals, Club Med, Eddie's Attic, and the Bluebird Cafe. She has been frequently played on Sirius XM's Laugh USA channel and has also been featured on AOL News.

The former school band geek has released 7 indie CDs. Her 5th CD,“Live From Outer Space,” was recorded at Sirius XM Radio's Performance Theater.

Ulbrich has shared the bill with such luminaries as Cheryl Wheeler, Vance Gilbert, Modern Man, the Bobs, Chuck Brodsky, Bob Malone, Bill Staines, Greg Greenway, David Massengill, Steve Forbert, Bob Malone, Lou and Peter Berryman, the Austin Lounge Lizards, Rev. Billy C. Wirtz, and Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel.