In 1995, heavy hitting critic Steve Morse wrote, "Carol
Noonan seems to exist beyond time.....she sounds at times like a 90's
Sandy Denny, soaring into the heavens, as she hits you in the heart".
Now described in this century as a "brilliant modern folk singer", by
renown critic Dave Marsh, or "Her beautiful voice offers the consolation
music is supposed to provide"......
by Playboy magazine, Maine singer songwriter Carol Noonan, continues
to win the praise of critics year after year.
She is known foremost as a contemporary singer-song
writer, but is also known for her haunting renditions of Irish, English,
and American traditionals.
All of Noonan's last six recordings, have been produced independently on
her own label, carolnoonanmusic.com. Some of her more recent recordings
have been funded by pre-orders from her fans, who once again will put their
checks in the mail quickly to support her. This is just another sample
of Noonan keeping the music business between herself and her fans. Most
of these titles are only avilable from her, giving Noonan a bird's eye
view of who is buying her albums as well as why and where.
|Click on any album photo
to place an order.
Noonan, grew up in New England and attended
New England Conservatory of Music, as a classical voice major. In
the summer after her
she took a job at a lakeside resort in Center Lovell, Maine as singing
chambermaid. Her blooming love affair with Maine, and a yearning to sing
music that more suited her unique vocal stylings, were enough to make her
ultimately decide not to finish her conseravtory education. She made Maine
her permanent home in the early eighties, where she has lived
twenty years. Since then, she has built a strong career, first, as the
lead singer and songwriter for the band Knots and Crosses, and most
recently as a soloist with one of the most versatile folk voices
of our time. Knots
and Crosses sold 20,000 albums independently, until they were briefly
signed to Island Records.
Noonan then went on to record
three solo albums with the strong indie label, Rounder Records.
three albums for
Rounder; "Absolution", Noonan Building and Wrecking", and
The Only Witness". They were critically acclaimed, but commercially
unsuccessful. She had spent over a decade in the music industry,
and although she had been considered one of the best singers on the
Award in 1993 for Best female vocalist), she had watched first, Knots
and Crosses, and then her own career decline.
At the same time, her husband Jeff faced his own
career difficulties, as his business of building commercial fishing nets
suffered great losses when the New England fishing industry was hit hard
with the new imposition of government regulations. It was time to face
facts. There was no room for the indulgent participation in a musical
career that would only add to their financial burdens. So Noonan put
guitar, and remained close to home, working two jobs to help hold onto
their precious farm. Times were hard, but as her husband's business bounced
back, so did Noonan's music. When she released "Self Titled",
she found that the respect that she had been honored with years before
was still intact, and so were her fans. With the help of a wonderful
network of musicians and multi media, she was able to spread her music
the country and even overseas to a brand new and larger audience. And
it was her audience who took on the task of spreading it further. With
personal touch, she thanked people for buying her records, and asked
them to help her get the word out "if they liked it"...and
This is my husband Jeff. He puts haddock on your table. He is a fine man
This is the truck that hauls the nets that put haddock on your table.
My "Scotti" -a very good dog
So after a decade of commitments to record labels,
Noonan has created a humble cottage industry out of her farmhouse in
Brownfield Maine with tremendous success, where she is the chief cook
and bottle washer.
She has twice been featured on NPR's Weekend Edition and has sold thousands
of albums nationwide, thanks to the loyal support of public radio, and
her fans. Although the internet has been instrumental in distributing
her music, it is her honor system method of selling her music that really
her apart from any other artsit or label. Noonan has taken a unique,
grass-roots approach allowing people to buy her music on trust, with
the help of a toll
free#. Her customers call 866-CAROLCD, and give her the order, she fills
it, writes a personal note of thanks, and slips in a bill for the music.
People have really responded to her personal touch and belief in them.
Her fans seem to relate to a simpler time when music was pure, and a
deal was sealed with a handshake.
In addition to her Boston Music Awards, Noonan has had rave reviews from
the likes of NPR's Weekend Edition to the unlikely pages of Horse and Farm
and Playboy Magazines. Locally, she and her husband a fishing net builder,
have been featured on countless New England tv news spots, and Boston's
t.v. magazine, "Chronicle". She has also had a feature story
in Yankee Magazine, along with twice having a story run on the wire nationally
by the prestegious Associasted Press. She has also been a guest on World
Cafe and Mountain Stage.
Noonan has performed her hauntingly
beautiful ballads all over the country, but she is primarily based in
headlining the coffeehouse circuit,
along with festivals, such as the Newport and Boston Folk festivals. Noonan
has been quoted as saying, "you are only as good as the company you keep".
She was referring to the stellar line up of musicians who have graced these
concerts and her recordings. Guitarist Duke Levine (Mary Chapin Carpenter,
Jonatha Brooke, Peter Wolf, the Del Fuegos), Guitarist Gerry Leonard (David
Bowie, Paula Cole), drummer Billy Conway (Morphine), drummer Dave Mattacks
(Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson), Bassist Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann,
Jonatha Brooke) and lastly but never leastly guitarist Kevin Barry (Paula
Chapin Carpenter, Jonatha Brooke) who is now her constant stage companion.
This duo makes for a strong musical force, that can only be really appreciated
through a live appearance. Her concerts have been described as emotional
roller coasters; her hilarious Maine humor, coupled with her dark and heart
||my opera singer
friend Lisa Saffer
||Kevin Barry and
Her latest endeavor, is
connected to music, but a far cry from being on the road or recording.
She and her husband Jeff
Flagg are renovating one of their barns on their rural property, to eventually
house the Stone Mountain Arts Center.
Noonan hopes to bring arts to the country in a big way...the Stone Mountain
Arts Center is slotted for
a summer opening in 2006. She has released two new cds to raise money
Arts Center begins with a barn moving (flying barn)
and continues development in the new location behind our house.
Take a minute to read about the Arts
CDs for Arts Center. Click photo to order.
Her voice has been compared to a young Joan Baez,
or a voice from ages long ago. But if you must compare her to an era, close
your eyes, and slip back into that time when Eminem was a candy and fruit
roll ups were only available to astronauts...there you will find the voice
of Carol Noonan.