Seven Song EP
There is something in the combustible mix of the best singer-songwriters' talents that can gently, firmly take hold of you, if you let it happen. The turn of well-placed chords, the bite of thoughtful lyrics, the growl/purr of a singer inviting you into her songs... such are the trademarks of Olivea Watson, whose first album is as charismatic as the artist herself. With 'Way Down Deep,' Olivea brings forth the talents and drive of a young artist stepped in blues, country and rock, yet savvy and bold enough to deliver music that is firmly her own. And deliver she does, with a graceful mix of musical styles, and supported by a band of sonic pros affectionately known as 'The Unsung Heroes.' It's a debut album that should be heard, often. 'Way Down Deep' was recorded in L.A., where she lives, but Olivea started out in small-town upstate New York, a place with lots of open space and one blinking yellow light. Her dad, a sheet-metal worker, later took a job shaping the metal of New York City's subway cars, and thus his 15-year-old daughter found herself in the city too. There, a childhood love of music was ratcheted up a notch or ten by the city's non-stop music scene. A violin player since age five, she also found her way to famed blues violinist Julie Lieberman, who, as Olivea says, 'changed my musical world and taught me what improvisation was.' And that's when the obsession with songwriting really took off. All the songs on 'Way Down Deep' are original Olivea compositions. 'Way Down Deep' is produced by Olivea and bassist Marcus Giamatti. What grabs many listeners at the live shows is her voice, which one magazine compared to 'a cross between Chrissie Hynde and the Sundays' Harriet Wheeler.' She can push it hard, or kick back and whisper in your ear, whatever the song needs. It's a vocal style that's strong yet gentle, inviting yet honest. That supple voice will lead you through a charged landscape where rock and alt-pop rub up against twangs and blue notes. Here, it is definitely the singer AND the song. Each in service to the other, and proud of it. Olivea's indie musical road has included a slot on both the VH1 compilation CD 'Save The Music' and the 'U Heard It First: The Best Independent Music' album. Four of the songs from 'Way Down Deep' have garnered Honorable Mention praise from Billboard Magazine's World Song Contest, impressive for one artist in a sea of song entries. Long-time fan music magazine Relix made her song 'Goodbye' one of their monthly 'Jamoff' selections, as well as a worldwide musical sample and podcast. Her upbeat tune 'All's I Want' has been adopted by the Montel Williams MS Foundation as they raise funds to battle Multiple Sclerosis. Olivea's band of 'Unsung Heroes' is a mix of musical pros who know their way around a song and have played with the best. The 'Unsung Heroes' are, in no particular order: Guitarist Doug Pettibone (Jewel, Lucinda Williams, Tracy Chapman), guitarist Tim Burlingame (Kathrin Shorr), keyboardist Skip Edwards (Roy Orbison, KD Lang, Lucinda Williams, Michelle Shocked), harmonica player David McKelvy (Brian Wilson, Stanley Clark), drummer Otis Hayes (Ice-T, John Lydon), drummer Shawn Nourse (Dwight Yoakam, I See Hawks In LA), percussionist George Martin (formerly with Earth, Wind & Fire), and flinty-fingered bassist Marcus Giamatti (James Montgomery). If music is a continuous chain, a flow of artists who give us their own great voices and add to a collective culture, then Olivea stands front and center, right now. Classically trained, she's got the blood of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, EmmyLou Harris and Big Mama Thornton running through her veins, alongside Sheryl Crow, Edie Brickell and who knows how many more running through her head. Listen up, it's a magical brew.