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Blues Babe

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Album Review

Olga sounds as if she's gone to the Paul Westerberg or Grandpaboy school of recording, but it's a sound that works to all her assets. "One Good Thing" starts this soulful blues journey that has her veering from a Delta blues format into something Janis Joplin would sink her teeth into. When she opts for a relaxing and melodic groove during "Gotta Put My Hands on You," she pulls it off strongly. But if the listener puts an imaginary bassline to the song in their head, it works infinitely better. Olga resembles a cross between Bonnie Raitt and Rickie Lee Jones on this tune, reaching at times for notes that don't come out pristinely. A fine effort comes along with the murky guitar riff and flute accenting the dark yet spiritual "My Baby Blue." Here the singer shines without question, nailing the tune the way few others could. It's a voice that doesn't need multiple octaves or one hand reaching to the sky to hit the listener's gut! "The Way We Were" veers into a folksy blues mix as Olga adds a tambourine to keep some sort of tempo flowing into an almost hypnotic format. The jazzy delivery on "Leaving So Soon" is also a highlight, with Olga working herself into a Cassandra Wilson-ish performance. A rocking tune comes along with the pretty and toe-tapping "I'm Off Your Sugar," with the performer making the most of a very strong melody. Perhaps the one track that stands apart from the others is the rough demo entitled "Ain't It True (My Love for You)" that has Olga sounding like she's singing in another room. It's a simple and yet quite alluring blues-folk song that she immerses herself into quickly. One miscue is the somber and insipid coffeehouse folk of "Mama's Boy," which relies on clichéd touches. She gives it a great send-off though, with "219 Train." Overall Olga has a powerful and inviting style and voice for this homemade album.

Blues Babe, Olga
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