|Carol Noonan Self-titled
Noonan is endowed with a remarkably strong and beautiful voice that, while comparable to Joan Baez or Judy Collins, sets her apart from the crowd of her contemporaries. Out of financial necessity, Noonan has recently emerged from her voluntary retirement from the music business. With this new album, which is not only self-titled, but self-released, she lets loose a gorgeous noise, backed by the tasteful picking of New England guitar great Duke Levine. Amazingly, Noonan mixes highly traditional tunes with modern singer-songwriter material with no loss of continuity.
-Guitar World Acoustic: by Jim Steinblatt
Carol Noonan - Big Iron
Carol Noonan lives up in Maine, a long ways from cowboy country. But she's had a love affair with cowboy songs ever since the first song she learned on guitar at age eight. That song, "Red River Valley" opens her newest album. Other traditionals here are "Streets Of Laredo," "Down In The Valley" and "Shenandoah." Carol also does "Wayward Wind," "High Noon" and Marty Robbins' "Big Iron" as well as her friend Raycharles Lamentagne's lovely "One Lonesome Saddle" and three of her own songs. Two of those are gunfighter ballads. The third, "Unknown Thing," an older song brought back in mind after the events of September 11, closes the album. Clearly Big Iron is a labor of love for Carol. She pours herself into the songs, her velvet voice a constant and assuring pleasure. The band is strong and solid. Special mention to guitarist Duke Levine for his gorgeous lap steel work. Carol Noonan always sings with her heart engaged, especially so on Big Iron. She makes this album memorable, even the most familiar songs.
-Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine, Spring, 2002 by Michael Tearson
Carol Noonan "Big Iron"
What at first might seem an odd source of material for New England-based singer Carol Noonan,a collection of cowboy songs and traditional American ballads, makes perfect sense when you learn that she grew up singing in that style. And what started out as a nostalgic and loving tribute to a simpler time has taken a new meaning. In this time of uncertainty, there is something warm and reassuring about Noonan's versions of "Red River Valley", Streets of Laredo", "High Noon", and "Shenandoah". Wonderfully crafted by producers Paul Bryan and Chris Rival, with backing such as kevin barry, Paul Bryan, Billy Conway, and Duke Levine, the songs make a connection to an era when things seemed simpler and events easier to control. Noonan's voice is the perfect complement for these songs, and she brings an obvious love for the material. her original songs, written in a similar style, sit comfortably among the traditional ones. Noonan has come up with a contemporary yet timeless view of classic songs done with grace and style. Recommended. (JLe)
"Carol Noonan's voice has an inescapable hint of sorrow that permeates the eleven songs on her album, and that hint is precisely what makes this album such a cathartic work. Five songs are her own. Four more are traditional. Richard Thompson's 'Devonside' and R. Hayes' 'Sonny' complete the set. Carol's writing is quite fine. 'Just Because,' a song about loss, and the murder ballad 'Leather Gloves' are exceptional. The traditionals include 'Open The Door,' 'Unquiet Grave,' the mournful 'John Riley,' with its happy O Henry twist ending, and the mystical 'Lagan Love.' The album is beautifully performed, a truly haunting experience."
Michael Tearson, Sing Out Volume 44#4
Carol Noonan - Somebody's Darling
While well respected by critics and fans as an excellent contemporary singer/songwriter, Carol is not known for her upbeat songs, and this new collection with a subtitle of 'songs of war, loss and remembrance' isn't going to be the disc to change that. Like all her previous self released albums, 'Somebody's Darling' is a mixture of originals, covers and traditional songs, but there's continuity across the 11 songs and the varied material fits together effortlessly. Considering the songs cover a sobering subject, this is a surprisingly easy disc to listen to and is less sombre than you'd expect and this is largely due to the strong melodies, detailed musical backing and excellent vocals. >From the first song 'Emma' (a Noonan original chronicling young love in the American Civil War), its Carol's vocals that stand out, she's always had a wonderful voice, but on this collection there's a natural delicacy, intensity and intimacy that is really striking - this is disc is full of superb vocal performances. She's assembled a strong group of musicians on the disc with Kevin Barry and Alan Williams providing excellent guitars and keyboards on most tracks, with other instrumental details coming from strings, bass and there's some subtle banjo from Carol on many tracks - overall it gives the disc a slight traditional American edge that suits the material and themes perfectly. On a disc with strength over material sourced from such diverse backgrounds picking out highlights is difficult but the two contemporary covers stand out on the quality of the interpretations and performances - Tom Wait's 'Tom Traubert's Blues' is stunning, beautifully sung and performed, and 'Brothers in Arms' feel like a different song with a female narrator. Her own material fits in well amongst the covers and trad material, and 'Emma' and'A War That Can't be Won' are both excellent contemporary singer/songwriter tracks by any standard.'Somebody's Darling' is a wonderful disc in every respect - strong songs, excellent instrumentation & arrangements, stunning vocal performances and a beautiful set of liner notes. Highly recommended.
-Neil Pearson, Fish Records - Suppliers of singer/songwriter, folk & acoustic music
Carol Noonan Christmas Reviews
Carol Noonan: "Carol Noonan Christmas" (Noonan Music) 3 1/2 stars The New England singer-songwriter blends a folky approach with strong Celtic influences on this nicely measured mix of hymns, traditional carols and lovingly detailed, personal reminiscences of her own
Christmas high points in song.
LA Daily news Article Published: Thursday, November 27, 2003
Holiday CD Reviews
Carol Noonan pours her considerable vocal talent into this project, which was financed via pre-orders from her fans. The result should make their holidays brighter. Twelve songs set against a delicate backround provided by some folk superstars. Kevin Barry and Duke Levine play guitars and other unspecified instruments, and Irish musician Frank Gallagher drops in with whistles and Irish fiddle. Amid the genteel, often minor keys choices you'd expect from Noonan ("Emmanuel", "I Wonder as I Wander", and "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem") are three originals. "Christmas of 64 recounts a childhood prayer for a guitar....thankfully for her fans it's a prayer that was answered
-Pamela Murray Winters
"Brownfield-based folk singer Carol Noonan captures the wistful longing for childhood Christmas joy in her album simply titled "Christmas." Noonan dedicated the CD to the memory of her father. "Thank you for all the colored lights, tacky Santas, hiding elves and tippy trees - Wish you were here for this one."That sweet but sad sentiment is woven through every song from the traditional "Away in a Manger" to her original "Christmas of '64," the year she got her first guitar. Noonan's gift is her ability and willingness to wrap the raw emotions that often bubble to the surface during the season in a stunningly beautiful musical package. Noonan markets her music directly. "Christmas" can be purchased on her Web site, by telephone at 866-CAROLCD"
Bangor Daily news, November 30, 2003
-Judy Harrison is a staff writer at the Bangor daily News.
A Christmas album that's subtle, serene and beautiful Carol Noonan Christmas (Noonan Music) Carol Noonan is a contemporary singer-songwriter based in New England. However, listeners will be forgiven for thinking they are hearing the voice of a female troubadour travelling the far reaches of England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland sometime in the distant past. It starts with the voice. Noonan's pure, delicate quiver dances like snowflakes. Some commentators have compared her voice to that of Sandy Denny or Joan Baez. It continues with fine musicianship. Noonan, who plays guitar, piano and glockenspiel, is complemented by a gifted ensemble with Kevin Barry on guitars and lap steel, Duke Levine on electric guitar and harmonium, Frank Gallagher on violin and whistles and Tom West on organ. Co-produced by Noonan and Chris Rival, Christmas features eight traditional carols and seasonal songs and three original compositions that blend seamlessly with the familiar Yuletide fare. The mood is serene and meditative, a combination of folk and Celtic influences against a backdrop of subtle sonic textures. While I hesitate to pick highlights, O Holy Night is simply, transcendentally beautiful. If you buy just one new album this Yuletide, let it be Christmas -- an album as timeless as the season itself.
Record (Waterloo Region) Arts, Saturday, December 13, 2003, p. C5
-Robert Reid Record Staff - Recordings.