o's news jessie mae


Olga Now Is the Time

(219 Records, 51:19)

Blues music is still evolving, even in the Mississippi Delta. In the place where Muddy, Sonny Boy, Robert, and many others lay the foundation for pop music, ever more young people are throwing themselves in the mix- revering tradition while keeping up with the times. Instead of black suits and hats they're wearing skin-tight jeans and way-too-short t-shirts. That's not a problem for the ultra-thin Olga with the long blonde hair- mainly because she's also got a lot to offer musically as well. On "Now Is the Time" she's joined by a young crew from Memphis and Oxford, MS who are versed in combining the simple foundations of raw blues from the Delta with different musical styles. The rhythm section keeps decent time in the background, similar to R.L Burnside or Junior Kimbrough in their days. Throw in some minimal, but decisive guitar licks from Olga and you've got a recipe for the minimalist blues that we (nearly) all love. It sounds easy, but in order to carry it off you've really got to know your musical history. Olga and her cohorts, who by-the-way are all just listed by first name in the liner notes, dig even deeper in the blues past. The best example of this is the acoustic "Stealin,'" with guitar, dobro, accordion,   bass, tuba, and mandolin. Olga masterfully draws us right back to the thirties with her impressive voice. So where is the reference to other styles? Check out "Take Your Rest Daddy (Sho' Nuff Take Your Time)", a Western/Reggae number with keyboard, bass, guitar, mandolin- with egg shakers no less! "Gotta Keep Moving" displays a South American flair, while "I Won't Ask" ends up somewhere between Bo-Diddley Beat music and British blues from the sixties. In between there's more acoustic blues and country, always accompanied by Olga's stupendous voice- and she can play guitar like no get out too!


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