Betsy Olson is a Montana-bred, Seattle-based artist releasing her first full-length album entitled Lonely Woman Blues in October, 2009. Olson pulls from a wide range of influences, ranging from the classic sounds of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to the more modern gritty and soulful sounds of The Black Keys and The Gossip. Her live performance is a two-piece (guitar, vocals, drums). With this spare instrumentation she is able to create an energy and electricity that a full band might produce.
Olson’s debut is an assortment of tunes that she’s been molding on and off-stage with drummer and Sub Pop recording artist, Sera Cahoone. In Lonely Woman Blues, she strays mildly from a more sparse live set-up by adding soulful Hammond and keyboard solos and lead guitar tracks performed by Olson, herself. With help from Jonas Haskins on bass and Cahoone on drums, in an October 2009 review, Kim Ruehl of City Arts says, “…it is the instrumentation…that makes this disc formidable.”
“With what seems like little effort, she leans hard into some raw, rocking blues tune that sounds almost recognizable, but not quite….she sings from somewhere deep between biting guitar riffs. It’s a difficult target for a young songwriter to hit—that which stands so convincingly on the shoulders of tradition that it sounds like it couldn’t possibly be new.” -Kim Ruehl of Sound Magazine
“Next came local blues rocker Betsy Olson, whose ballsy daring brought out an impressive rendition of Hendrix’s “Red House,” not to mention a slew of originals…. It was the first time I’d ever seen her play and, given her presence and sheer awesomeness, was surprised and slightly embarrassed about my unfamiliarity with her work. It’s likely I’m not alone, so just join me in this assignment: go see Betsy Olson a few more times this year.” -Kim Ruehl from a live review in Sound Magazine
"This Seattle guitarist/vocalist debuts with a promising album of gritty, stripped-down blues-rock reminiscent of the Black Keys, though she stretches out with some haunting atmospheric ballads and a couple of straight-up rockers. While she just performs live as a two-piece with Sera Cahoone on drums, she fleshes out her sound a bit more with bass and keyboards. Still, the focus is on Olson's primal guitar riffs and Cahoone's equally ferocious drumming." -Don Yates (Seattle's KEXP 90.3FM)