Chloe Lyn, Leslie Yvonne and Katie Louise met while studying music at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton. They remained good friends after graduation and eventually worked in a corporate band that folded during the economic downturn in Alberta. Before the corporate band folded, they had decided to try a project singing classic country music. Chloe explains, "We were driving back from one of our last shows and we knew that we wanted to start our own band. We were actually driving past the sign for Caroline, Alberta. The three of us decided that calling the band The Carolines would be kind of fun."
Country Roots (Profiles in Canadian Roots Country Music): Chloe Lyn, The Carolines
I talk to The Carolines' Chloe Lyn about where the band finds inspiration, their passion for performing and why Alberta's a great place to be a musician.
The owner of one of the venues (The Blue Chair Café) that Chloe sings at in her solo capacity asked if she'd like to do a show. She says, "I was getting kind of tired of doing my own show there so before we'd even had a rehearsal or had the band together I kind of cheated and told him I was part of a band named The Carolines and he should hire us. He trusted me and hired us, so we quickly put together a couple of set lists and a band. Our first show was in January of 2013."
The Carolines' music is steeped in the classic country sounds of Patsy Cline and Buck Owens. Chloe says, "Leslie was pretty heavily influenced by classic country because she lived with her grandmother as a young adult for a brief period of time and really got to know that music well. Katie and I knew what the average population would know and we did our research to elaborate on our repertoire a little more. The three of us all sing lead and we all sing harmonies, so we try to spread it evenly and keep the show fun for the audience and ourselves as well."
Their backing band is made up of musicians who also graduated from the Grant MacEwan College music program. Chloe points out, "They're phenomenal players. Chris Tabbert is on guitar and he plays for a lot of different artists but predominantly country music because he's great at playing it. Paul Bergeron is the bass player and he plays in a whole bunch of different bands too. Matt Grier on drums is also in a lot of different projects."
Right now the band is focused on singing existing repertoire and they haven't strayed into writing original material. Chloe says, "All three of us have released our own individual records. We've talked about writing some of our own songs but two of us have started families a few years ago and we're all doing a lot of projects. We've recorded one EP and maybe for our next project we'll do some writing but that'll have to happen organically."
When it comes to interpreting the songs, Chloe says that the band tends to stick to the original intent of the songs. She explains, "Every time we bring a new song to the table, we learn the original arrangement and we might collectively as a band decide on an arrangement during a rehearsal but for the most part we stick to the original arrangement."
The band has been enjoyable for all of the participants to be a part of and their own real challenge is juggling busy schedules so that they can find rehearsal time.
Chloe reflects on how lucky musicians are in Alberta. One of the major reasons for this positive atmosphere is the independent, listener supported CKUA Radio Network in the province. She says, "I feel like they're one of the reasons I have a musical career. They have such a large following and they are so supportive of local artists. They gave me my first fan base by playing my music on the radio. Even just the support helps because it's a scary thing deciding that you want to play music for a living and I don't know that I would have had such courage to play without their support."
She continues, "We also have a good system of government grants. Grants have funded both of my solo records and Alberta Music has been really supportive and helpful."
The Carolines also had a chance to perform in the Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta’s artist showcase which allowed them to demonstrate their talent in front of a wide range of venue bookers from around the province. Chloe says, “We performed at that showcase in 2014 and it yielded many wonderful gigs for us in 2015/2016 which we're really grateful for.”
In the future, The Carolines plan to expand their touring to play in more communities across Alberta and potentially beyond the province's borders. Chloe says, "There's still a lot of places in Alberta we haven't played and the small communities in particular love to have live music brought to them. People are really excited about us releasing an album so we plan on recording a full length album in the future. We want to keep the band going strong and sustain what we're doing!"
The band finds inspiration in playing together and sharing music with others. Chloe elaborates, "We see how much the music that we make touches people and brings them so much joy. It also brings us joy so we're really inspired to keep doing it!"
For more information on The Carolines, please visit their website here.
This profile is based on an telephone interview with Chloe Lyn that was conducted and recorded on Nov. 11, 2016.