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Wednesday, August 10

Beef up on LOVE...Carol Kleyn's brand, that is!

Backstory:
Carol Kleyn was a freshman in the early 1970s at UC Santa Barbara, and was given to write songs for her poetry class before dropping out to concentrate on music full-time. She soon meets one-man psychedelic band Bobby Brown, who brought her a harp for her birthday one year. Rather than take lessons at the university, she taught herself to play the instrument and promised to perform her own songs exclusively, eventually lugging the harp in and out of buses, down streets and alleyways, and across fields to busk for passersby at street corners, community fairs, and Renaissance festivals all over California. She then meets Gregg Allmann, tours with him, and hobnobbs with the Eagles, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli, and Sly Stone, among many other contemporaries. She came close to signing with a label, specifically Allman home base Capricorn, but instead she released three self-funded albums on her own. Rather than achieve success as defined by the music industry, Kleyn went on to become a legend among crate diggers and harp-folk enthusiasts.

Epilogue:
More than three decades after self-releasing her debut, Kleyn signed her first record deal with Drag City to release Love Has Made Me Stronger on CD/LP and now Pitchfork has awarded this lost (and now found) classic a 7.8 review.

Read on, dear reader~

"Kleyn displays an intriguing cross section of styles and influences, a range that ostensibly results from her being self-taught. She strums and picks her harp like a guitar on 'Baby Come Close' and 'Love's Goin' Round', and on 'Street Song', she plays the instrument almost like a dulcimer, percussively plucking countermelodies that sound both tender and slightly foreboding….More often, though, Love Has Made Me Stronger's rough-around-the-edges imperfections only allow Kleyn to convey her spirited optimism all the more forcefully. That sort of music boldness never goes out of style."


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