Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Time spent in San Francisco with the likes of Maria Muldaur and Los Lobos sounds like just the right inspiration for a musical career. Add in the perspiration of working for four years in a Colorado radio station, and you have the roots of the musical career of singer-songwriter Olga.
In 2000, Olga decided to move from Colorado to Tennessee with her husband Jimbo Mathus to be closer to the musicians she idolized—RL Burnside and Jessie Mae Hemphill, for example—and to the origins of the Mississippi Hill Country Blues she had come to love during her time in Colorado.
Olga has been compared to such performers as Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow. She hastens to point out that, perhaps unlike these others, she writes and arranges her own music with a deliberate style, imprinting her vision on Hill Country Blues. She plays with the subject matter, making it more modern and personal, or she takes the regular Hill Country one-chord, two-chord element and adds an additional chord or bridge.
"The blues is all about commandeering the truth," Olga says. "Music is about writing what you know in a storytelling fashion—whether it's your own story or someone else's. It's not about putting on a persona and singing about something that doesn't really have anything to do with you."
In addition to her upcoming album, "Now Is the Time"—which will be released in mid-April on the New Orleans-based indie label 219 Records—Olga is producing "When the Levee Breaks," a recording of a benefit concert held last October in Memphis for the Katrina relief effort. Proceeds from the CD will benefit local New Orleans charities working to rebuild the city.
Currently on Olga's plate is filming the music video for the first song off her upcoming album, which is also named, "Now Is the Time." She describes it as having a fife and drums vibe to it, with more chord changes than is usual from her.
"The song talks about living in the moment and not being too far in the future or in the past—about being more present," she says.
"Now Is the Time" will be available, as her earlier albums are currently, in retail stores, on her Web site at www.laolga.com and on iTunes in mid-April. She also comes to Jackson to perform at Fenian's on Wednesday, March 1.
Olga is a great bluesy-girl saw her and jimbo at red room. Maybe she will come with him and play at my wedding.