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OLGA
NOW IS THE TIME
219records TNR1007

Blues-Tinged Singer-Songwriter with Genuine Sensual Passion

It feels like we’ve become a bit spoiled and blasé about female singer-songwriters lately, as if there is an endless supply and as one career sinks another is on the rise. It all means that it is ever more difficult for the good ones to register, which is a shame because it would be a crime against the blues if Olga’s NOW IS THE TIME passed by unnoticed. She may well be a San Franciscan of Austrian heritage (not your normal start in the blues) but living in new Orleans and Memphis, it could be argued that spiritually and musically, she has found the perfect home.

Olga struck up a not-so-unlikely, but extremely fortuitous friendship with the legendary Jessie Mae Hemphill (having got in contact they discovered they shared a birthday as well as a musical philosophy) and while Jessie Mae, Maria Muldaur, Los Lobos, Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald and Memphis Minnie have all provided inspiration, if Olga is closest to anyone, it is the flame-haired genius Bonnie Raitt, and she is not over-flattered or over-hyped by being name-checked with Raitt.

There’s an understated completeness about NOW IS THE TIME , all the power of real feelings is there, it’s just that they are not swamped by wave after wave of theatrical over-emotion. Ain’t It A Shame and Can You Forgive Me show that Olga knows her way around a blues ballad, however she’s not some giddy schoolgirl crying over a crushed love. Ain’t It A Shame in particular is carried along by mature reflection. But undoubtedly the talking point of NOW IS THE TIME will be the sensual, seductive clothes she’s wrapped the blues in, What’s The Matter With The Mill may be skillfully rough and ready but the latent sexiness of Olga’s voice means that it hits home.

But it’s her passion for the blues that makes the difference for Olga, she has plunged into the genre with a will, I Won’t Ask and Take Your Rest Daddy are pure and undiluted. Like Raitt, Olga possesses an inherent and natural magnetism that opens up the blues and makes it accessible to all, and, as she slinks her way through the album, she demonstrates the power to make grown men’s eyes mist over.

-Maverick Magazine, May 2006



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