o's news jessie mae

COMMERCIAL APPEAL, MEMPHIS FEBRUARY 2005
Review by Bill Ellis

Kiss Your Blues Away
Olga
(219 Records)

Like Margaret Garrett of Mr. Airplane Man, Olga Wilhelmine has relocated to Memphis with a mesmerizing mess of blues on her mind. The itinerant guitar player/singer -- who co-established the nonprofit Jessie Mae Hemphill Foundation and released an album by the famed She-Wolf, Dare You to Do It Again, last year on her indie label 219 Records -- has also made the best solo album of her short career in Kiss Your Blues Away. Playing snaky slide guitar as if it carries some highly potent venom, Olga matches her hypnotic guitar work with sexy alto singing that suggests Janis Joplin had she grown up in Mississippi hill country. Olga, who wrote most of the tradition-honoring material here, also shows great instincts for making records. Recorded in Clarksdale at the historic WROX radio studio and Jimbo Mathus's Delta Recording facility (where Elvis Costello recently cut material for The Delivery Man), Kiss Your Blues Away carries first-class pedigree from session guests Cedric and Garry Burnside, Kinney Kimbrough, Taylor Grocery Band/Kudzu Kings affiliates Bryan Ledford, Ted Gainey and Max Williams and newfound musical partner Mathus.

Olga and Jimbo share the stage with the David Brookings Band 9 p.m. Sunday at the Hi-Tone, 1913 Poplar.


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