o's news jessie mae
Offbeat Magazine, New Orleans LA,
October 2004

Olga
Kiss Your Blues Away
(219 Records)

Olga enlists bassists, drummers, even an accordion player, for Kiss Yours Blues Away, a straight shot of sounds from New Orleans to the Mississippi hills that wraps her singer/songwriter vibe around a traditional blues pole. Inspired by Jessie Mae Hemphill and backed by the heirs of some of the greatest blues ever performed, Olga strays from solo into bandom with 13 original songs, mostly recorded at WROX in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

We do get a glimpse of the old Olga, stripped down, woman and guitar on two tracks, but when backed by a full band she really shines. Verging on pop, "Keep it on the Down Low" retains a cranky country edge, which Olga's vocals pervade. The first song, and title track, set the stage for what is to come: groovy, mellow tunes with meditative vocals and familiar rhythms you have never heard. You expect this from an old Mississippi blues player, but considering Olga comes from an Austrian lineage and was raised on the West Coast it is surprising here. Olga has been hanging around with the right people and it shows on this album.

-Brenda Lee Kozuch


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