Caroline Owens & Company debut inaugural release at Lorraine’s

Caroline & Company celebrate the release of Applejack with a custom album art cake at Lorraine’s

Caroline Owens, 19 year old songbird/guitarist from central North Carolina, has just released her first album with her band, Caroline & Company. Entitled Applejack, the CD consists of 10 tunes including one, Shake the Dust, penned by Owens herself.

The project features Garrett Newton on banjo and spotlights his picking on the instrumental, Limehouse Blues, made famous by Don Reno. Newton no longer performs regularly with the band due to his farming duties. In his absence, Curt Love, bassist with the Junior Sisk Band – and Owens’ boyfriend – currently picks the five with her touring band. 

Other members of her band that appear on the recording are Joe Pessalano on mandolin/dobro/harmony vocals, Banks Icenhour on lead guitar, and Greg Penny on bass.

Owens is busy promoting her music and her new CD. Caroline & Company performed at Doyle Lawson’s festival over Mother’s Day weekend, and has made recent live appearances on David Pugh’s Kentucky Mountain Jubilee at The Bluegrass Jamboree, Stevie Barr’s Crooked Road show on WBFR in Galax, VA, and the Merry-Go-Round on WPAQ in Mt. Airy, NC. 

A CD release party was held on Friday, May 14, at Lorraine’s Coffee House & Music in Garner, NC. With COVID restrictions gradually lifting, a packed house was present to support the young artist.

Owens was indebted. “Look at this full house. We appreciate everyone coming.”

“I hope we never take a live gathering like this for granted,” expressed mandolinist, Pessalano, from the stage.

Carolina Road’s fiddler, Matt Hooper, guested along with Newton, for one tune.

Hooper praised Owens. “She is the absolute best singer that I have worked with in the past 30 years.”

The songstress’ vocal stylings are definitely influenced by the legendary, Dolly Parton. “Dolly is probably my biggest inspiration,” Owens shared during the release party.

The title track, Applejack, is one of Parton’s tunes. Other notable tunes on the CD include Hazel Dickens’ A Few Old Memories, Pete Goble and Leroy Drumm’s Walking the Blues, and Allen Reynolds’ Wrong Road Again, made famous in bluegrass circles by Lynn Morris.

The project, recorded at Old Stage Recording Studio in Garner, was produced by Lorraine Jordan and engineered by Skip Cherryholmes.

“We need new young artists to keep the bluegrass alive. Caroline Owens will be just that. She has the will to take the music forward,” stressed Jordan.

Skip Cherryholmes added, “Caroline is a unique new talent with a lot of soul and passion in her voice. I enjoyed working with her, and experiencing her understanding of musical captivation and professionalism. I look forward to doing more with her in the future and seeing where she’ll take this musical calling.”

Owens responded, “Lorraine was a great help in choosing what songs fit best for the band for this particular project. She knows such a wide variety of material and is seasoned with years of experience, which made her the perfect fit for producing and selecting the songs. And a big thank you to Skip Cherryholmes for engineering this project.”

Of the project itself, she says…

“This was our first album as a band. We had a great time recording it. I enjoyed being with the guys in the studio. It is a pleasure to play with them.

It’s a fun, refreshing retake on a lot of classics. We hope you enjoy it.”

You can hear samples from Applejack at Hear Now online.

Share this:

About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.