Olga | Now Is the Time

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Now Is the Time

by Olga

“…if Olga is closest to anyone, it is the flame-haired genius Bonnie Raitt, and she is not over-flattered or over-hyped by being name-checked with Raitt.” -Maverick Country Magazine
Genre: Blues: Country Blues
Release Date: 

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1. Now is the Time
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4:30 $0.99
2. Your Love Don't Work Like Mine
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4:49 $0.99
3. Weary
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4:07 $0.99
4. Ain't it a Shame
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3:59 $0.99
5. What's the Matter With the Mill?
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3:28 $0.99
6. I Won't Ask
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3:34 $0.99
7. Can You Forgive Me
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5:26 $0.99
8. Fool
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5:10 $0.99
9. Stealin'
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3:07 $0.99
10. Take Your Rest, Daddy
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3:46 $0.99
11. Gotta Keep Moving
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12. GDTRFB
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
There’s an inherent honesty to blues artist Olga; her outlook as straightforward as a daily special at a north Mississippi lunch counter.

“Blues is the truth,” she likes to say. “Speak the truth and you’ll know the blues.”

Listen to a track on her newly-released CD, “Now Is The Time,” and you’ll know that you are listening to a blueswoman—and the heartfelt truth. The new release follows two earlier works: “Kiss Your Blues Away” and “Blues Babe,” which established her on the blues scene.

You might also catch her at her new stomping grounds: Tobacco Road in New York; the Young Ave. Deli and the Hi Tone in Memphis; and Dos Jefe's Cigar Bar and House of Blues in New Orleans.

At home in both Memphis and New Orleans, Olga writes, performs, and produces local and national radio shows. She participated in Martin Scorcese's documentary on the blues with Jessie Mae Hemphill, North Mississippi Allstars, T Model Ford, Otha Turner, Corey Harris and John Spencer Blues Explosion. She has shared the stage in recent years with Coco Robicheaux, Robert Randolph, DJ Logic, Papa Mali, North MS Allstars, James Mathus Knockdown Society, Los Lobos, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Jim Dickinson, Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers), and Matt Abts (Gov't Mule).

Olga’s San Francisco roots and Austrian origins seem worlds removed from north Mississippi, the nexus of her musical artistry. The simple one-chord blues that she compares to the music of Senegal and Mali--“rather hypnotic, one chord and repetitive”—helps her keep her lyrics simple and powerful.

Classically trained in voice, piano, and violin at a young age, a friend’s guitar and Jimi Hendrix: Blues soon kidnapped her mind and soul. At first she was hesitant. She’d “somehow become convinced that a white girl couldn’t sing the blues.” People still register disbelief when she tells them she’s a blues maker. “Then they hear me and they really can’t believe it!”

She counts Maria Muldaur and Los Lobos among her early mentors; they showed her how to survive over the long term in the business, and she has been inspired by Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Junior Kimbrough, Memphis Minnie, and Peggy Lee.
Living legend Jessie Mae Hemphill has also played a major role in Olga’s career. She sought out this Mississippi blues legend arfter hearing her recordings. "I'd always liked her records and wondered if she was still around," Olga explains. "We began speaking by phone and not long thereafter I went to see her in Senatobia, Mississippi.” The two musicians swap advice and have become friends, even starting a tradition of sharing their mutual birthday and "frying a lot of chicken legs!"
When Olga sits down to write, her lyrics often come from within. “I find that the most powerful songs are the ones that come from first person narrative and experience,” she says. “Blues music is a personal experience and emotional, whether happy or sad. It is like having a therapy session.
In “Gotta Keep Moving,” Olga recounts a low point in her life:

I'm running on nickels and I can't stand still
If thunder don't get me, than lightning will
I got to keep moving

“I wrote it in an hour and at a time where I felt very alone and desperate. I did
not have a place to call home, no money, no car, and I was exhausted,” she says.
”That song is about just trying to keep on going forward even when it feels like nothing is going your way or is going to change. I think everyone has been there one time or another.”

It’s a universal truth, and perhaps the reason that Olga’s music is growing in popularity here and outside of the United States. Despite being defined as a music form with uniquely American origins, she explains why the blues are widely popular. “It’s because of the emotional connection. People connect with honesty and feeling,” she says. “Blues is very soulful, like Gospel music. They come from the same root. It moves your spirit in ways you may not have ever known about. It’s all about emotional release.”


Reviews


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Phyllis Ryan

Now is the Time
Olga has a great sound. I have play this CD over and over and each time I find there is some new sound or phrase that catches my attention and begs me to play it again.

todd bailey

now is the time
bonnie raitt has always been a favorite of mine. you are different, more special somehow. the great sound is your own olga. i hope someday i get to run across your path and do a duet. my music doesn't compare but i know if you did my music it would be a five star. your voice is great! keep a rollin!

Mark Hall

Amazing Artist
This is my first Olga cd - I will be buying more!
Her sound is full of grace and soul - with hints of heartache and real emotion. I cannot recommend this disc more highly.

Jerome Clark

Olga- Now Is the Time
“If Bonnie Raitt hadn't surrendered long ago to the blandishments of Adult Contemporary Radio, and instead stuck closer to where she started, she would probably sound something like this. By which I mean to say, I'd far rather listen to Olga.”

RAMBLES Cultural Arts Magazine

Raised in San Francisco by Austrian parents, Olga -- in the fashion of a roots-music Cher -- goes only by her first name. (Her full name is Olga Wilhelmine Munding-Mathus, for those who want to know.) Backed by her husband Jimbo Mathus (of the Squirrel Nut Zippers) and the Clarksdale Sound Machine, she has released a winning collection of originals and traditionals with a -- broadly speaking -- blues sensibility, with occasional excursions into rock, folk and jazz-pop that neverfeel jarringly discordant.
If Bonnie Raitt hadn't surrendered long ago to the blandishments of Adult Contemporary Radio, and instead stuck closer to where she started, she would probably sound something like this. By which I mean to say, I'd far rather listen to Olga.
Inevitably, with her modestly eclectic approach, I like some songs more than I like others, but I don't dislike anything, either. Her vocal style is all earth and smoke, sultry and sexy but understated about it, a sound that feels born of dirt roads and urban nightclubs alike. None of this is country music, but her "Ain't It a Shame" -- not the 1950s Fats Domino hit -- in another arrangement would do some Nashville act proud.
Her lyrics are ably composed if thematically unadventurous, (by her own testimony) confessional songs about romance's up and downs. Mostly, the downs, which are always more interesting if you're somebody other than the one who's living them. Olga and Jimbo, who produce, set the songs in laid-back electric and acoustic arrangements that manage never to lapse into vapidity.

Here and there interrupting the originals are easygoing readings of roots standards: Memphis Jug Band's "Stealin,'" Memphis Minnie's "What's the Matter with the Mill?" (a duet with Mathus) and a closing piece cryptically titled "GDTRFB," which turns out to be the unmysterious "Going Down the Road Feeling Bad." If not for the ages, they do nicely for the moment.

by Jerome Clark_Rambles.NET_30 September 2006