Carolyn Gaines
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Carolyn Gaines

San Bernardino, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2012

San Bernardino, CA
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Blues Blues Rock




"Interview w/ Carolyn Gaines: The Blues Singer"

Carolyn Gaines was born into the blues as the daughter of the great guitarist-singer Roy Gaines who was superstar Diana Ross and Billie Holiday’s guitarist. In addition, her uncle is saxophonist Grady Gaines, who worked with many top names including Diana Ross & The Supremes, Gladys Knight, Little Richard and Sam Cooke. Throughout much of her life, Carolyn Gaines has been a significant part of the blues world. She has taught countless number of children about the blues in her Blues Schools programs, written many articles about the blues greats, interviewed B.B. King, Guitar Shorty, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Cyril Neville, Buddy Guy’s guitarist Ric Hall, Sonny Landreth, Robert Cray, her uncle Grady Gaines, and her father Roy Gaines.

She has produced performances, worked on publicity and radio promotion, dealt with labels and festivals, and been a spokesperson for the ‘Blues’ music on many levels. Now after many experiences, she is emerging as an important new blues singer. As a youth, Ms. Gaines sang at some of her father’s club dates along with her brother and sister. However, singing eventually took a back seat to her work in the blues business. After majoring in theatre arts in college, she managed her father’s career starting in the early 1990s. She booked Roy Gaines at blues festivals and clubs, traveling around the world. She hosted, created and produced blues cable television about Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Ike Turner, Roy Gaines, The Jackson 5, Diana Ross and she would always play Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Roy Gaines, and Shemekia Copeland’s music on her radio shows. With the release of her debut album, "Beware Of My Dog" (2018), Carolyn Gaines has revealed herself to be a blues singer of purpose. - Blues GR: Keep The Blues Alive

"Beware Of My Dog Carolyn Gaines Debut Album Statement"

Blues that flow deep and true on every number recorded for this debut album from Carolyn Gaines. Beware Of My Dog, is a mix of re-imagined and worked classics and her own numbers. Beware Of My Dog perhaps is a double-entendre loved by the genre. The album could be named Beware of My Voice, as Carolyn’s vocals say I am coming to cast a blues spell over you.

Like many debuts, the opening track is the title track. It opens with a spoken cast of blues players that have and continue to inspire. Listen to the fine instrumentation and colouring you hear the echoes from Hound Dog, connecting you to Big Mama Thornton and Elvis Presley. This is no imitation and the tenor-sax lead break is stunning. Carolyn’s vocals are warm and determined this is a singer not to be messed with she means it when she sings Beware of My Dog.

Now it is well known that dogs and cats often don’t get on I’m Your Cat, Baby sits perfectly following on from the title track reinforces that Carolyn and her band are a smooth and stormy act to be reckoned with. The beat smooths out with the harmonica that sings with a melodic refrain that curls around the vocals as we are Stone Out Your Raggly Mind. This is picked up by the sax that is stunning as her vocals shape and bend the lyrics this is singing that comes as natural as talking to this talented vocalist.

Now for an exploration of the nearly covers! First up is Hoochie Coochie Woman. Starts off similar to Muddy Water’s I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man. Then with a beat of the drum, it changes and this becomes a song owned by a woman. It is modern and the lyrics have shifted that makes you once again really listen to the re-working of a classic. This album is stinging blues now for a change of tone as David Junior Kimbrough’s Done Gone Old is explored around the tongue of Carolyn. Her vocals have a dark timbre that is personal, mischievous and slightly dangerous working so well in contrast to the acoustic guitar. We now have a change of blues tempo and colouration with country blues that dances. Played with a lightness of touch and is fun inspired but never dictated by Blind Boy Fuller’s I Want A Piece Of You. Carolyn and the band are having a good time and no-one can resist the foot-tapping beat and energy of Mr. Dill Pickles.

I Want Your Money Honey. This is the darker Carolyn’s vocals we are treading on dangerous waters if we challenge the interpretation of the blues, fuelled with rock n’ roll and the rawness of the vocal interpretation of the lyrics.

The harmonica on Jerry Rice – Busy man is the perfect foil for Gaines vocals on this country blues number. Her blues song is written in dedication to her Mum and Buddy Guy as we are treated to some wonderful harmonica playing on Charlie Mae & Chicago. Closing out the album with an organ opening that immediately gains your attention is a remake of Big Jay McNeeley’s Something On Your Mind. You are left loving Gaines varied and consistent interpretation of blues that is modern and exciting. A debut album that leaves you wanting to hear more.

A celebration of the distinctive vocal tone that has a roughness that is never smoothed into something it isn’t. Her vocals are full of warmth and expression. - Blues Doodles


Carolyn Gaines debut album, Beware Of My Dog on Polka Dot Records, has revealed her to be an important new blues singer after Big Mama Thornton, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Lee Hooker, Big Jay McNeely, Grady Gaines Junior, Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones! The 1950’s blues and rock n’ roll is back!

Beware Of My Dog, blues author, blues teacher, Dr. Gaines, shows that Carolyn Gaines is both a student of the blues and a singer who does not copy her predecessors. Title track, “Beware Of My Dog,” has a connection to Big Mama Thornton’s and Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” and a 1950s blues vibe. Gaines’ voice sounds unlike anyone else. Legendary saxman Big Jay McNeely features his distorted tone, and it fits the song quite well. The lowdown, one-chord blues, “I’m Your Cat, Baby” has Carolyn Gaines displaying a menacing voice that is a similar to 1961 “Back Door Man” Howlin’ Wolf with its growls and rasps. Her menacing tone may sound a little scary but it is also quite alluring. “Stone Out Your Raggly Mind,” is akin to Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me To Do” and features her cousin Grady Gaines Jr. on tenor sax blowing his infectious Chicago blues. Listen to how the singer’s bent notes sound as natural as talking. “Catch That Train,” inspired by John Lee Hooker’s 1962 “Boom Boom,” has the vocalist having a call and response with the band during the first section before it becomes a cooking blues.

David Junior Kimbrough’s “Done Got Old” is an intense country blues inspired by Buddy Guy’s 1990s interpretation, but Gaines has given a fresh new spin from the 1920’s and 30’s. As with Buddy Guy’s recording, this new version is intimate but quietly fiery with its own brand of restrained passion. On the low down one chord blues “I Want Your Money Honey,” Carolyn Gaines sounds quite dangerous, and exciting (a little like Ma Rainey), growling up a storm. One knows that she is going to get the money!

The singer’s “Mr. Dill Pickle” (inspired by Blind Boy Fuller’s “I Want A Piece of Your Pie” from 1939) is a good-time blues on which her lyrics sound contemporary. The performance with Glen Doll’s harmonica has the flavor of a 1930s Chicago blues. Her “Jerry Rice – Busy Man” is a country blues dedicated to the great football player. “Charlie Mae & Chicago,” dedicated to her mom Charlie Mae and Buddy Guy, has some highly expressive singing.

The closer, a remake of the Big Jay McNeely’s hit ‘Something On Your Mind,’ is an excellent revival that features a haunting, catchy bass line of Del Atkins, Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s organist Rudy Copeland, and strong contributions from Ms. Gaines’ vocals – sexy, smooth, passionate in a deep slightly-alluring-updated twist from Buddy Guy’s 1990’s version – and McNeely blows the roof off this, his 1959 hit song. They’ve created a performance for us to fall in love.

Bill Da’Sheill mixed and engineered Beware Of My Dog at Leon Haywood’s Sunny Side Studio in Los Angeles. This hit album was mastered by Robert Honablue who’s worked on projects by Miles Davis, Janis Joplin, Barbara Streisand, Ike & Tina Turner, George Benson, and Carlos Santana.

Formerly behind the scenes, Carolyn Gaines shows on Beware Of My Dog that she is ready to take center-stage with the blues greats of today. Special thanks to producer Leon Levy. And special thanks to all the DJ’s for spinning Beware Of My Dog!

By Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian

Where has she been? She has a lot of catchin’ up to do now that her debut is a winner. – Jim Santella/Southland Blues Magazine, 2018

Promoter Blind Raccoon

Listen to “Beware Of My Dog”

Artist Website and Blues Schools

Youtube: Born To Play The Guitar and I Got Dreams

Cover Photo by: Sadiq - 16th Annual Blues Festival Guide 2018


Still working on that hot first release.