About IOLA

"Iolta, an important Cherokee village in its day, was known to early traders and explorers as Ayoree or Joree...Few place names have presented a more confusing array of spellings...Maps printed in the 1920s spell the name "Iola."  B. McRae

IOLA’s story begins with Carey Sveen Watlington-- at first, an eye-patch wearing, competitive square dancer in the mountains of North Carolina.  Born in Norway, her parents soon immigrated her to the tiniest, most religious town fathomable.  There, she performed her grandmother’s, Cherry Sue Jackson's, country tunes (like "The Birds Sing Sweeter at My House" and "I'm a Flag-Waving American") from ages 5 to 18-- always knowing she would one day start her own band and write her own, not-always-sweet-or-patriotic, folk songs.  After big-city moves (NYC), family death, heartbreak, and over 20 years of griping and growing, Carey, finally, picked up the guitar and started to write her quirky, soft, and sometimes-mean music, as IOLA, and gather musician friends to help...Did you know that women in small towns are prostituting themselves for meth?  It’s true.  Did you know that the mixture of the sunset and fog can make a crotchety, mountain-man cry?  It’s true.  IOLA's debut album, in ups and downs of topic and tempo, obsesses with wonders such as these (along with her many, many battles with closed-minded folks).  Plus, the record couldn’t have come together without guitarist Evan Fricks, bassist Robert Hellyer, drummer Craig Howe, and producer Mike Kutchman.  This debut, “Arnfinn,”-- named for her late father-- was released in summer of 2015 on cassette via Campers' Rule Records and on vinyl in Spring 2016 via Welcome Lane Records.  


9/25/2015:  Impose Magazine:  Video Premiere

6/29/2015:  The Deli Magazine

5/27/2015:  NYLON Magazine

7/1/2015:  Culture Collide:  Album Stream

7/3/2015:  Speak Into My Good Eye:  Show Review

5/25/2015:  Indie Minded

5/3/2015:  Kryptonite Zine Interview

5/1/2015:  Baeble Music Review

4/14/2015:  AudioFuzz Interview

3/26/2015:  Elmore Magazine Article

10/28/2013:  Audio Femme EP Review

Booking and other inquiries:  carey@careysveen.com