ABOUT CAROL FRAN
Carol Fran’s distinct voice and piano-playing style mark her celebrated career that spans seven decades. She is one of the institutions of Blues Americana and one of the last living artists that helped develop the unique “Swamp Blues and Pop” sound of South Louisiana. She continues to inspire other artists through her passion, enthusiasm and tenacity. Carol is a master blues singer and pianist, performing in both English and the native Creole French language that her parents and grandparents taught her in the bayous of Lafayette, Louisiana, where she was born in 1933—one of seven children.
at the age of 15, Carol (then Carol Anthony) left home to join the tour of Joe Lutcher, the Louisiana jump blues saxophonist, and his band, the Society Cats. She also toured with Jimmy Reed, Lee Dorsey, Joe Tex and Ray Charles. She eventually made her way in New Orleans where she married saxophonist Bob Francois. Abbreviating her married name to “Fran,” she became one of the Bourbon Street club circuit’s continuous vocal authorities.
Carol had recorded her first hit single, “Emmitt Lee,” at J.D. Miller Studio for the legendary Excello Records label, and in 1958 she toured with blues legend Guitar Slim. During the 1960s, she recorded extensively for Port, Roulette and Specialty Records getting Billboard recognitions for her cover of “Crying In The Chapel.” In the 1970s, Carol returned home to perform in the Gulf Coast club circuit.
In the early 1980s,
Carol married blues guitarist Clarence Hollimon and relocated to Texas. The duo formed the Hollimon Express and toured extensively in the United States and Europe, releasing three albums, Soul Sensation (1992), See There! (1994), and lt’s About Time (2000). They also taught the blues to students as artists-in-residence through programs by Texas Folklife Resources. Following Clarence’s death in 2000, Carol returned to Louisiana and released a solo album, Fran-tastic, in 2001. She suffered a stroke in 2007, but just seven months later she was back on stage at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in a performance USA Today described as “potent and poignant.”
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
1993 & 2001
Nominated for a Blues Music Award (previously known as the W.C. Handy Blues Awards) for Female Artist of the Year.
Released Fran-tastic to excellent reviews with Selwyn Cooper on guitar.
Critics Choice Award for Best Performance, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Appeared with other notable artists on Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album For The Gulf Coast Hurricane Victims.
Louisiana Governor's Arts Awards as Folk Artist of the Year.
Lafayette City-Parish Council Distinguished Citizen Award as well as the Outstanding Jazz Vocalist Award celebrating the contributions of women as a part of African-American History month.
Performed at the 7th Annual Bourbon Street Festival in São Paulo Brazil.
Slim Harpo Blues Award for Female Legend of the Year.
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Award in Washington D.C.
Album release, All of My Life.