Folk singer-songwriter Carolyn Crysdale is well-traveled. The half-Canadian Silver Spring native went to college in Canada. She returned to the D.C. area only briefly before setting off for Australia; she studied abroad there and liked the rich arts culture in Sydney, and so she lived there for two more years. She later returned to the D.C. area, where she’s lived for nearly two years.
She played her music throughout her travels. A lifelong singer – her mother tells stories of how she’d sing in her crib at hardly a year old – the now 26-year-old Crysdale grew up performing in choir, band, and musical theater. She listened to the folk music her parents played, by acts such as Joni Mitchell that would influence the music she’d go on to write herself. She started writing in her mid-teens, and began performing those songs several years later.
While living in Canada and Australia she played the local music venues, pubs and coffee houses, and does the same now that she’s living in the D.C. area.
She’ll be sharing a bill next Monday at Galaxy Hut with The Beanstalk Library, performing with her drummer Ben Tufts providing percussion and harmonies. She’s a regular performer at local music venues such as Ebenezers Coffeehouse and Iota Club and Café, and she’s performed with D.C.’s 9 Songwriters Series musical collective. It’s part of her musical focus: “I want to be a good, local artist,” Crysdale says.
She’s a teacher who works with children with special needs, and it’s work she’s also passionate about, but many of her nights and weekends are devoted to the D.C. music community – rehearsing for shows, playing gigs, meeting other musicians, and watching friends perform.
Her connections to her hometown music scene made her show at Iota Club and Café in October particularly meaningful. It was her first-ever headlining show, and Iota was the place where she played open mics when she briefly returned to the D.C. area after college. She went on to headline a show at Ebenezers last month.
“I love the D.C. music scene and the songwriters here,” Crysdale says. “It’s awesome to be a part of it. Everyone is very supportive and encouraging.”
For her most recent single, Crysdale enlisted friend and D.C. area songwriter Derek Evry to produce the track. “More Courageous” was released this summer, a follow-up to last winter’s The Bushfire EP. Crysdale praised Evry’s vision for the song.
“That’s the song I’m most proud of,” Crysdale said. “I want to share that song with people, get it out there, have people download and listen to it or hear it at shows.”
Crysdale plans to continue recording, and hopes to put another EP out some time this year. In the meantime, she continues to perform around the D.C. area and focus on her commitment to honing her craft at home.
“I just want to keep doing the local thing, and trying to do it well.”
• For more information about Carolyn Crysdale, visit carolyncrysdalemusic.com.