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Karen Tyler

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  • Years Active: 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Although Austin, Texas is known for blues legends W.C. Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lou Barton, Fabulous Thunderbirds and Marcia Ball, they are known as electric artists, but Austin also has acoustic blues artists who deserve equal attention, such as Karen Tyler.

Tyler's father played saxophone at house parties to fend off the stress of working in the printing industry. Despite his love of music, she received little encouragement to become a musician. Her first taste of playing blues came by working in a blues band in the early '80s while living in Fresno, CA. Moving to Santa Barbara, she fell in love with acoustic blues after being exposed to Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan and Peter Mac and David Tovar.

After hearing about the Austin music scene, she moved there in 1992 to seek her fame and fortune. By then, the local music scene had rolled up the carpet to newcomers, but she was encouraged by Clark and T.D. Bell. After securing a finalist position in the 1993 Kerrville New Folk Competition, she released Streets and Serenades. While in Memphis to promote her CD to the music industry, Tyler, feeling discouraged, traveled with spouse and bassist Fred Murray to the ancestral wanderings of Memphis Minnie. Spiritually awakened, Tyler vowed to concentrate solely on acoustic blues.

Lovin' the Blues Too Long was released in 1997 and received encouraging promotion from a family-owned record store that specialized in Texas artists. Additional critical acclaim came from high rankings in several categories of a readers' poll of an Internet blueszine, Delta Snake. Due to family obligations, Tyler and Murray moved back to southern California, where they continue to promote their music.