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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Now North Carolina-based, Karyn Oliver is an astute singer-songwriter, and with having lived in various cities I would say it is safe to say she has rode out a storm or two, and has a few hard luck stories to tell. Born and raised in Beltsville, MD Oliver spend over twenty years in Baltimore, and has figured in short lists for songwriting categories at the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival, Texas.
Kerrville Folk finalist in both 2011 and 2016 she was also Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist in 2010 and 2011. She has been knocking on the door for quite some time. Her 2016 album Magdalene (produced by Theme Jutz while she was living in New York) gained her some glowing reviews, as will List Of Names. Though it is of the world of folk (Americana) she is best associated, her influences are wide. She cites her influences to include Duke Ellington, Emmylou Harris, Mary Chaplin Carpenter, Eva Cassidy, Marvin Gaye and Roberta Flack among others.
As for List Of Names, she digs deeper than she’s ever done as deeply buried emotions are u earthed. Musicians in support include Jon Shain (guitars), F J Ventre (bass guitar), Jim Roberts (drums, percussion), Doug Hammer (piano), Doug Largent (B3), Kaitlin Grady (cello) and Bill Newton (harmonica) plus Oliver (guitar, ukulele). Among the strongest and most evocative tracks you have I Was A Town and Write Me A Letter; as she speaks of someone who is unwilling to give up easy on a relationship, and willing, if the other party writes her a letter saying that want to see her again jump on the first train. As for the former Oliver tells the tale of a town buried in dark memories due to a fire, hence the dark moody feel of the ever probing piece.
Due to the excellent production and players used, the instrumental aspect of the album is one where there is forever things of real interest. As you have distinctive piano, lead guitar, cello, harmonica and B3 (best heard on the blues hinted No One Asks Me) enjoy the opportunity to help shape the mood of her work. Whether it be philosophical, melancholy, one of regret or just wanting to kick up a fuss on the electric guitar driven Clara Oliver all questions are answered in full. Talking of (sparkling) electric lead guitar, and fine harmony vocals Edwina is well endowed in both, and most impressive. One of her best efforts. Oliver might be selling wares in a busy and cluttered market place, but with her material spiced with attitude she is good enough to challenge all in her field.
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