Kristina Olsen is one of the most entertaining and compelling performers on the international acoustic circuit. A superb multi-instrumentalist (acoustic guitar, steel-body slide guitar, saxophone, concertina, banjo, mandolin and piano) as well as an award-winning songwriter with a big bluesy voice, Kristina has audiences around the world coming back for more. Her mix of powerful songs ranging from sassy bottleneck blues to lilting ballads to swing jazz to raunch and roll (as well as her hilarious storytelling) makes for a diverse and satisfying musical experience, on stage, on disc and in book.
Kristina Olsen has long been fascinated by the blending of musical styles. And her latest album – ‘Sweet Stillness’ – continues that trajectory with the blending of folk/blues California songwriter Olsen with award-winning Canadian jazz guitarist/composer Bill Coon. Coon and Olsen started their musical alliance after meeting while teaching at a jazz music camp in Canada. They became enamored with each other’s musical abilities and decided to try co-writing together.
This CD album is the culmination of that musical meeting. Each pulling the other out of established comfort zones into a brave new world, neither jazz nor singer-songwriter. Art music at its best without conforming to expected genres.
One of the songs is largely in 5/4 time, where another is played on concertina with jazz guitar accompaniment – but with a key signature of 6 flats, not typical in the folk world. With topics as diverse as; menage a trois, a gentle acceptance of death, the ponderings of the return to gravity from fantasy, and the view of a fast world from under a front porch. And of course new love, but from the perspective of an old body. And a blues about big thighs. Fresh, weird and familiar all at the same time. Just like this world we are in!