Liz Carroll

liz-carroll_1Suzanne Plunkett

Liz Carroll has had a remarkable century. Her 2009 recording with John Doyle, Double Play, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy, making Liz the first American-born artist nominated for playing Irish music – ever! On St. Patrick’s Day 2009, Liz traveled to Washington, D.C., to play for fellow Chicagoan, President Obama, at the annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon. In 2005, she became a member of String Sisters, a sextet of fiddlers from America, Ireland, the Shetland Islands and Norway. Their 2009 Live album was shortlisted for a Grammy. And Liz’s first duet album with John Doyle, In Play, caused Sing Out! Magazine’s Rob Weir to exclaim “Liz Carroll recordings induce joy and admiration that exhaust this reviewer’s feeble descriptors.”

Previous to that were two solo albums, Lake Effect and Lost in the Loop, which used Liz’s hometown of Chicago as the influence for an extraordinary outpouring of new compositions. The 2000 Lost in the Loop album led the Irish Echo to proclaim her the Traditional Musician of the Year.

All that has come this century, but in the last came a National Heritage Award Fellowship in 1994, which honored Liz as a “Master Traditional Artist who has contributed to the shaping of our artistic traditions and to preserving the cultural diversity of the United States.” A mouthful, to be sure, but such national recognition stood on her winning the 1975 All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Championship to Mayor Daley proclaiming September 18, 1999 as “Liz Carroll Day” in Chicago.

2010 brought the publication of Liz’s first book of compositions, “Collected.” It’s a compilation of Liz’s musical past, as well as a promise for the future – a past and future honored in 2011 with Ireland’s most revered traditional music prize, the Cumadóir TG4 (Composer of the Year!).

It’s these tunes, as well as Liz’s vital performances on concert stages, television and radio, that have established her as one of traditional music’s most sought after performers. Neil Tesser of the Chicago Reader marvels that “her quicksilver lines can captivate violin admirers way beyond the bounds of Hibernia.” P.J. Curtis of the Irish American says that Liz “conjures up a dizzying mixture of the sweetest tones, the fastest runs, and the most dazzling display of musicianship imaginable.”

In 1994, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Liz a National Heritage Fellowship for her great influence on Irish music in America, as a performer and a composer. First Lady Hillary Clinton presented the award which bestows national recognition on artists of international stature.

Liz’s recent solo album, On the Offbeat, was released at www.lizcarroll.com and it’s there and everywhere right now.