Olga's third album, Now Is The Time, represents
a thick blend of influences, as befits a classically-trained
musician who was raised in San Francisco, calls New
Orleans and Memphis her "homes," and spends her time steeped in the bluesy folk of the north Mississippi hill country. To pigeonhole this album as "Blues" would be a disservice, for Olga and her band (including husband Jim "Jimbo" Mathus, formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers) cover a broad range of territory herein -- much of it familiar, but all of it worth the trip.
The album starts in upbeat fashion with the cover
track, a steady drumbeat and bluesy base sounding like
a train rolling down the tracks. Much of the album
is indicative of motion, including "Weary", a dirty country blues journey down a long, lonely highway, but this is definitely a cross country trip. Along the way, Olga deftly covers Memphis Minnie's "What's the Matter with the Mill?", Memphis Jug Band's "Stealin'", and the traditional "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad" in stripped-down fashion. But where she really shines is on originals that take her in new directions, such as "I Won't Ask", a Blues Brothery soulful rocker reminiscent of Aretha, or "Fool", a jazzy pop number that would be right at home over the opening credits of a Connery-era James Bond film.
Favorite Track: Track 6, "I Won't Ask"
Michael Fiegel is a freelance writer and graphic designer. His diverse
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