The past few years have been special ones for Americana singer-songwriter Cara Jean Wahlers. An album, Goodnight Charlotte, topped dozens of Best-of lists at the end of 2010; the music was used as the soundtrack to the film Paradise Recovered. She hosted multiple songwriter-in-the-round nights in Indy, and she met the man she will marry.
To celebrate a step into the next phase of her life and career, Wahlers — who became Cara Jean Marcy both personally and professionally when she got married in March — had one last singer-songwriter show. (Tim Grimm, Marcy, Bill Price and special guest Evan Slusher played a songwriter night for the last time on the stage at Locals Only on March 30).
“I organized probably a half dozen of these performances in the last year with local and regional artists, because it’s pretty fun to play with people whose work you admire,” she said. “I’ve had the hope of bridging the gap between Bloomington, Louisville and Indianapolis, bringing new talent to town and allowing Indianapolis musicians to make connections with other regional musicians.
“The three of us, Tim, Bill and I, joined each other on stage for a traditional writers’ round. It’s a lot of fun to share a stage with a few of your friends, telling stories and laughing in between songs,” she said.
The run of shows were a hit for a number of reasons. The music was good, the audience seemed to enjoy the atmosphere of candlelit tables, and there was a no-smoking policy.
“Because of this choice, I was contacted by the national office for the Center for Disease Control and interviewed about being an ex-smoker and a performer who supports non-smoking music venues,” said Marcy.
After the final show, Marcy started to get busy on her next album.
“I just confirmed that I’m recording a live album. and Danny Flanigan (Hopscotch Army, The Rain Chorus) is going to play lead guitar, while Ryan Williams (Playboy Psychonauts, Warner Gear) is going to play bass. I’m pretty excited about it,” Marcy said. “I played with Ryan Williams in a band called The Warner Gear years ago. It was a great experience, a great band and I was immediately taken by Ryan’s elegant bass lines. We’ve talked a bit about it. He played bass with me for the NUVO Best of party at Sun King last summer and we work really well together.”
After the critical success of her most recent album, the choice to make a new record with a similar sound is something that Marcy has considered.
“I originally thought that thematically I wanted to go a completely different direction than Goodnight Charlotte, but then realized that I was trying too hard to change my voice,” Marcy said. “I’m looking at a few songs that I considered for Goodnight Charlotte that I didn’t include, as well as some new songs I’ve just started performing.
“One thing I know for certain about the studio album is that it won’t be limited to guitar and cello,” she said. “That’s what made Goodnight Charlotte different. But if I do another album with that arrangement, I think it becomes less special. So, I’m looking at filling the arrangements out a little more.”
Of her name change, she said, “It was a difficult decision to make that took a lot of consideration.”
In the end, she had a couple good reasons for the change.
“I didn’t want to draw the line between who I am personally and who I am professionally,”she said. “And Marcy is easier to spell than Wahlers.”