"Carolyn Anele is a singer with a beautiful voice...a spectacular songwriter"
Fred Penner, Canadian Singer songwriter, Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Order of Canada
“Hearing one of Carolyn’s songs is like reading a story so truly told that you lose yourself completely to the craft, the beauty in it. Lyrics born fresh and ancient at the same time. Wisdom complementing invention, heart hand-in-hand with humour. The music a circle, returning again and again.”
- Terry Jordan, Canadian Novelist and Playwright
“In review of the album that you sent me, Where Birds Sing: I am very impressed with this album. The tunes are all heralded with your smooth sweet voice, deep themes, and complete package as an album. Your voice is exceptional! The songs that are striking me the most are: Blue Skies And Starry Nights, A Mother's Prayer, Where Birds Sing, When I Am Old, Butterfly, and I'm A Baby. I have been playing a selection of the songs on my radio show to very favorable responses...”
- James Miller, Programmer, CJLY Kootenay Co-op Radio, Nelson, British Columbia, February 2014
"Vernon singer/songwriter Carolyn Anele’s third recording, Where Birds Sing, mixes traditional themes and cosmopolitan country-rock songs. The album also references her solitary folk roots. She’s a little bit Nashville, a little bit out on the open range. Like her previous EP, Anele writes and sings about the landscape. She mixes those images with lyrics about living a simple life in a candid, off-hand manner. As such, her music has a wide range of appeal.
A Mother’s Prayer is a nod to modern country balladry, done Nashville-north style with a sensitive, ambitious arrangement. Anele’s vocal character has the stamp and authority of a natural and the emotion is always there. Her folk roots are in strong evidence on the album although she sticks to the girl-with-a-guitar stance rather than anything topical or political.
On songs like Coal Dust Sandwiches and Billy Miner’s Breath she steps out of that zone and into a country-rock vibe where her sound veers off to the left.
On songs like these she digs in and belts out the lyrics, bringing a husky edge to her tone. Her voice has a natural mid-range and when she gets down, it matters. Those tracks and a few others could lose the accordion-friendly mix and stretch the sound with some raw electric guitar – a few extra decibels would match the intent of Anele’s vocals.
Her way with sunny subjects and sweet material (Where Birds Sing, Butterfly) is engaging but she reveals a potential for earthy matter on Hard Times and dark themes on Scared. The melodrama is strong in the delivery and brings on some heartache that cuts close to the bone.
Where Birds Sing is a deep recording with unpretentious material and an emotionally connected performance."
- Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician who reviews new releases for The Morning Star, 2013
"New Vernonite by way of Salmon Arm, Carolyn Anele has struck some mellow gold with her batch of newly recorded songs simply entitled Carolyn Anele. I beleive this is a promotional disc, but it sounds fully realized already, and ready for release as it is. This is an unexpectedly easy on the ears mini-collection, full of melody, acoustic sparkle and Anele's liquid voice.
Anele has done her work well. Although a somewhat recent addition to the land of musos, she is a veteran of the Henderson/Forbes songwriting workshops, as well as performances at acoustic-friendly valley venues. Her sound, songs, and delivery on her mini-disc are evidence of a strong, soulful talent ready to be heard and appreciated.
These songs reveal Anele to be at one with her muse - they ring with authenticity that causes you to take notice and take them in, right from the start of The Hill behind Margaret's House. This is definite single material; smooth and believable with the stamp of Western Candian soul. The song, like all her work here, lies in between folk and acoustic country. The melodies, particularly the hook-on choruses, are captivating.
Vocally, Anele's voice is fresh and pure, yet resonant with confidence and maturity. The intimacy and warmth of her delivery recall a Judy Collins/Joni Mitchell vibe, which immediatly directs her stories straight to the senses.
I've used the term "folk" here in description, but it really means the easy, rural-flavoured sensibility that some Canadian musicians seem to capture instinctively. This is what sets us apart from similarly inclined Americans. Don't forget - two of the most successful and "real" examples of rootsy North American styles, The Band and Neil Young, are Canadian.
Carolyn Anele harnesses this quality, and her music glows with western light and pure energy. Remember When has this elusive yet recognizable character stamped upon it.
Honesty can't be faked, and this, along with solidly-crafted songs as vehicles, sets Anele on a path of promise. She seems to naturally grab onto hooks without cheapening them, giving her music a glow and richness that brings her arrangments into smooth harmony with her sweet voice. Mmm mmm good! Carolyn Anele has captured some rays of light with her songs - lovely work and music to sooth the soul."
"When I first met Carolyn Anele, approximately 16 years ago, at a Songwriters' Workshop (with Bill Henderson & Roy Forbes) she was a quiet unassuming, sincere, genuinely talented individual, who had an approach - when it came to crafting a song - that struck me as an individually unique expression of her "own experience". "Write what you know" came to mind (when I listened to the songs that she presented) - and though I did not know her I sensed that was what she was bringing to the table (along with her cookies).
Over the years, and the many workshops (and Songwriters' Showcases) that followed, I always looked forward to receiving Carolyn's submission (of songs - these submissions came to me first, so I got a sneak preview before I passed the work along to Bill & Roy). Something that became evident over time, was not only was Carolyn writing what she knew - and what she was living - she was also learning to hone her craft with each successive year.
Another aspect that impressed me about Carolyn was her dedication and loyalty to the process of evolving the various dimensions of her talent. What was always exciting to observe was the development of her material from the beginning of a workshop - through the process with either Bill or Roy - to her performance of the freshly work-shopped song on the final Sunday afternoon.
An observer and facilitator, those were magical moments for me - energy in the room (from all the songwriters) never failed to be uplifting. Something that strikes me about Carolyn is that she appears to understand that becoming a songwriter is an art, not unlike the art of living, that reflects a gradual, steady, hard-working process that doesn't happen overnight.
As I listened to "Where Birds Sing" (supportively produced by Andrew & Zachary Smith - and Carolyn herself) I find myself listening to a "stand-on-your-own" Songwriter who has diligently learned to cover the bases of her craft. Congratulations Carolyn! And congratulations to all who contributed to a fine piece of work!"
-Ken Smedley, former Manager of the George Ryga Centre, November 2013
"From the moment Carolyn takes the stage, she engages the audience with a warmth and uniquely sophisticated style, drawing all involved in her performance to a close & intimate encounter.....sincere & compassionate."
"Strong voice, outgoing personality - definitely an up and comer!"
"Anele's seven-song CD, by the way, just dropped off at the office this week, shows off not only rich vocals, but her strong songwriting skills as well. Where has she been hiding all these years?"
"I am very impressed with your Cd ... *great* sound production on it, your guitarist is amazing, and your vocals are highlighted incredibly well... this is certainly a Cd that stands out... I will be giving it lots of spins on the show in the future ..."
-Laurie-Ann Copple, Radio Host, Window of Opportunity, CKCU 93.1 FM, Kanata, Ontario