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South Australian Blues Society, October 2004

Kiss your blues away
219 records TNR 1005. Distributed by Redeye.

What’s this? A promo CD from 219 Records in New Orleans, Louisiana. Look it’s “Olga” from “Awlins”! On a closer look at the liner notes I noticed that it’s Olga in Clarksdale, the heartland of the Mississippi delta! “Kiss your blues away” it stated was recorded in Clarksdale’s “historical” WROX studio. Historical because apparently this is where Robert Nighthawk and Ike Turner got their early start. Now just for the record Olga’s a looker! Her long blonde hair and sensuous sleepy eyes had me wondering…well yes it’s good that the blues genre is attracting new “talent” like this …but can she play the blues?
Yes this singer songwriter certainly can play …and what's more her brand of personalized “blues” is captivating. Olga has a vocal style that is smooth, understated, articulate, clear and somber. It is easy to listen to without being “easy listening”. It is a fascinating blend of roots, blues and jazz. She sings from the heart and her lyrics are from the soul. Her rhythms are steady, swampy, layback, mellow and rootsy. Electric guitar, bass, drums and the occasional lap steel guitar, acoustic guitar and mandolin work together to produce a sound that is immediately accessible and richly textured enough to demand further listening.
Under the tutelage of living legend Jessie Mae Hemphill, Olga continues her study of the blues. "Jessie Mae is without a doubt a major influence on me," she affirms, "I feel like I've been looking for her my whole life”. Thought I detected some good ol’ hill country blues in the mix there. Olga said she'd "like to be a link in the blues chain, one that keeps this style of music alive for the next generation”. There is a somber and mellow mood about this CD that I like. It must be those deep mellow tones that only a big hollow body “Gibson” guitar from Memphis can offer ... hang on Olga plays a “Washburn”!…see what happens when you entrust the next generation with the blues!
Pay Olga a visit at http://www.laolga.com and you’ll see she’s also peddling “Olga Hemp Cherry Lipbalm for the modern day bluesman and woman” …now put that in your new age mojo!
Wonder if your regular record store is stocking this one? If not, the exchange rate isn’t too bad at the present moment so visit http://www.219records.com or http://www.laolga.com and purchase it online.

David Stoeckel

South Australian Blues Society, October 2004

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