Who is Acoustic on the Rocks? Paula Carlson is lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Bill Albrecht is lead guitar; Brad Carlson is cajon, percussion, and sound, and John Lyman is harmonica. The band pulls influences from blues, folk, and classic rock. We’re not sure what cajon is, but it sounds like something your hipster friend Steve would totally be into. We asked the band a few questions. Here’s what they had to say.
- How long have you been playing together?
Bill: Paula and I have been playing together for more than four years. We met at Guitar Center in Fayetteville when my wife was interested in purchasing a new acoustic guitar for me as a present. As I recall, Paula heard me test driving a Martin in their humidor room. Later on, John was added as an official member after sitting in on a number of gigs with us together and her alone. Eventually Paula made a very smart decision to incorporate Brad, who is a cajonist and her husband. He has also become the band’s technical guru and contributed immensely to our overall sound, while providing Paula with what is needed to project the voice many folks want to hear.
- Talk us through the creative process of writing a song.
Paula: For myself, the lyrics have always come first. That may be due to the fact that I always considered myself a vocalist first, musician second. It may start out as a poem or a short story where I take it and work it into something more akin to a structured “song” with a chorus and a bridge, and so on.
- What is one of your favorite moments as musicians?
Bill: When the last scheduled song is played and Paula wishes everyone a safe drive home and a good night. Mind you, this favorite moment is not because I am glad the show is over. It’s because many times that is when the calls for “One more Song!” are shouted out — sometimes even after the initial one more song has concluded. Without a doubt, I have never played as many encores as I have with Paula Carlson’s Acoustic on the Rocks. No matter how tired I am — it is one of the most gratifying things as far as music and this band is concerned.
- What is your greatest achievement as a band?
Paula: Because of the nature of our band, none of us are in this to become “stars” or national recording artists. So in keeping with that, our largest accomplishment is that after four years we can all still get together every single weekend and jam out while having fun without any of the drama and turmoil that so often ravages musical groups.
- When you’re not performing, where do you go to listen to live music?
Paula: Well, that depends on who you talk to. We all live in different areas, so we each have our own places we frequent for that. Mostly, Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Fayetteville are included, but truthfully our busy schedule leaves very little time for catching other shows. We play pretty much every weekend we can.
- If you could play with one band — past or present — who would you choose?John: Play harmonica for Muddy waters
- What’s your favorite go-to karaoke song?
John: I hate karaoke. It’s the worst thing to happen to live music.
- You can only listen to three albums for the rest of your life—which do you pick?
Paula: Three albums? That’s it? Forever? Wow, okay: Dreamboat Annie by Heart, Zoso by Led Zeppelin, and Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.
- We turn on your car — what’s playing on the stereo?
John: Howard Stern or the Beatles.
- Top five ultimate road trip songs?
Paula: Soft Cell or Marilyn Manson’s Tainted Love, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Billy Thorpe’s Children of the Sun, Pat Benatar’s Love is a Battlefield, Golden Earring’s Radar Love