Carolyn Kelly

Born in South Carolina and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., Carolyn “Dessie” Kelly arrived in Syracuse in 1968. Singing gospel solos at the Surprise Baptist Church in South Carolina helped Kelly built a solid foundation for singing the blues.

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In Syracuse, she performed with guitarist Roosevelt Dean and the Soul Doctors for three years.
Then her life’s journey drew her away from music. In 1999, she began work as a certified nursing assistant at Loretto’s Heritage Apartments which specialize in caring for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Kelly is lovingly known by residents and staff alike as “Dessie” — her childhood nickname. In 2006, three and a half decades after leaving Dean’s band, Kelly returned to the studio where she performed three tracks on his CD, “Don’t Leave Me.” The session work led to live performances at places such as Meacham Park, Party in the Plaza and the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. “I was scared and nervous, but excited to be back on stage,” Kelly recalled. “I felt like I was out of the scene for too long, but the pleased response from the crowd gave me back my confidence.” Three CD’s, one Sammy and eight years later, Carolyn is still going strong having taken over the reins of the band on Dean’s passing in 2009. Carolyn and the Carolyn Kelly Blues Band can be seen all over upstate NY at Clubs and Festivals performing her unique style of Blues. She was recently honored at the NYS Blues Festival with the CNY Blues Archive Hall of Fame award.

In 2006, three and a half decades after leaving Dean’s band, Kelly returned to the studio where she performed three tracks on his CD, “Don’t Leave Me.” The session work led to live performances at places such as Meacham Park, Party in the Plaza and the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. “I was scared and nervous, but excited to be back on stage,” Kelly recalled. “I felt like I was out of the scene for too long, but the response from the crowd gave me back my confidence.”

Three CD’s, one Sammy and eight years later, Carolyn is still going strong having taken over the reins of the band on Dean’s passing in 2009. Carolyn and the Carolyn Kelly Blues Band can be seen all over upstate NY at Clubs and Festivals performing her unique style of Blues. She was recently honored at the NYS Blues Festival with the CNY Blues Archive Hall of Fame award.

CarolynKellyBlues.com

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