Brian Olive
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Brian Olive

Cincinnati, OH | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Cincinnati, OH | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
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"Straight From the Horse's Mouth: Sean Moeller's Daytrotter Picks for 9/2/14"

Olive, a guitar slinger from Ohio, is the next in a line of a recent glut of spectacular Daytrotter performances by players with hazy nods to either the ‘60s and ‘70s or something as introspective as Bill Callahan and as druggy as Haight Street. Like Steve Gunn and Morgan Delt of late, Olive delivers impassioned songs of personal hardship and getting knocked about. The smoke in the air is as thick as soup. Try the mellow “Love We Are” first. Listen to Brian Olive’s session here. - Daytrotter


"Brian Olive ‘Move’ EP"

f it were the 70’s, a lot of people would probably call this EP ‘groovy’. Instead, let’s just say it’s a fantastic alternative rock teaser that should make you excited for the next full length album from former Greenhorne and Soledad Brother, Brian Olive.

Olive’s new EP, Move, mixes multiple genres. Blues, funk, psychedelic rock and even hints of jazz are present at times. The title track makes a great first impression, using saxophone and an absolutely psychedelic-funk sound to invite anyone with ears to listen. Olive’s use of multiple instruments is often subtle and even subdued to just the right amount, like with the tune “Subversion,” which shows a great mixture of piano and guitar that bleeds soul.

“Kicking the Dirt,” has the most range out of any song, going from a soulful, bluesy vibe to a psychedelic-rock sound. The guitar is excellent as well, following the song’s direction in just the right way without being overbearing.

Olive co-produced his previous release, Two of Everything, with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, and throughout this EP you can hear the impression he made as Olive belts out his clever lyrics with a transformative gusto that you can’t ignore.

“Love We Are,” is the last track, leaving listeners with a slow-paced and smoothly calm sound. His vocals are remarkably soulful and vintage, showing listeners that artists can still put out true, honest music that makes you feel something.

If you’re looking for something new to get into, check out Move, for a combination of songs and sounds that will give listeners a delicious alternative rock taste well worth the bite. - The Waster


"Two of Everything: AllMusic Review by Mark Deming"

On his second solo album, former Greenhornes and Soledad Brothers guitarist Brian Olive once again offers an eclectic variety of R&B-based sounds, but his approach has changed just a bit. For Two of Everything, Olive enlisted the production expertise of Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys, and while the album still has a solid, bluesy foundation, the songs here sound cooler and slinkier, with echoes of vintage funk and groove jazz cropping up in the mix, and a good bit more refinement audible in the melodies and performances compared to his self-titled debut. Two of Everything doesn't sound like Olive has turned his back on his blues-based earlier work, but he is veering in a different direction; the results sometimes suggest a Midwestern take on Northern soul as Olive and Auerbach throw just a little pop polish on Olive's vocals and let the pianos and saxophones give the music a subtle but distinct retro feel, even as the steady pulse of several tunes nods politely to hip-hop. But even as Two of Everything travels down a smoother road than its precursor, it still sounds organic, committed, and heartfelt, and Olive sure knows how to write a memorable tune; "Strange Attracter" faces a chunky, T. Rex-style guitar figure against an insistent piano-and-drum pattern that fills up the dancefloor; "Black Sliding Soul" suggests an unlikely but effective collaboration between NRBQ and Mark Ronson; "Left Side Rock" bounces hard Southern funk rhythms off aggressive horn samples, and "Lost in Dreams" is a beautifully languid bit of stoned soul love pleading. With Two of Everything, Brian Olive is two for two in making smart, distinctive albums that push his blues and R&B influences in unexpected, compelling directions, matching and building on the strength of his debut. - All Music


"Brian Olive: Two of Everything"

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July 30, 2011 1:02 am
Brian Olive: Two of Everything

By Ludovic Hunter-Tilney

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A regular in the Midwest’s garage-blues scene at the turn of the century, playing in White Stripes-affiliated bands such as The Soledad Brothers, Brian Olive moved to Cincinnati a few years ago and reinvented himself as a retro-eclectic, borrowing from vintage R&B, psychedelic rock, jazz, funk and whatever in the manner of someone rifling through a crate of old records.

His second solo album Two of Everything, produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, bears the fruits of this new approach. “Left Side Rock” has neat boogie-woogie riffs and a slinky beat reminiscent of Primal Scream’s “Rocks”, “Go On Easy” is airy flute-driven psychedelia and “Strange Attractor” is a hypnotic blend of R&B horns, far-out solos and metronomic drone-rock. - Financial Times


"Brian Olive: New Album, Then Dr.’s Appointment"

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Brian Olive — who came into the Cincinnati music scene from nearby southwestern Indiana with his former band The Greenhornes in the ’90s — is set to release his second solo effort, Two of Everything, early next month. The album is being issued June 7 by the Alive Naturalsound imprint, which issued Olive’s 2009 debut. Click the arrow above to hear the new LP track “Left Side Rock. Olive’s touring for the album begins next week in the south (Texas, Florida, etc.), leading up to his special appearance at the massive Bonnaroo music fest in Tennessee, where he’ll join the legendary Dr. John as part of an all-star jam session.

Two of Everything was co-produced by Olive (also formerly of the Soledad Brothers) and Dan Auerbach, the singing/guitar-playing half of Akron’s latest great musical export, The Black Keys.
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If “Left Side Rock” is any indication, it will contain more of Olive’s wide-ranging, psychedelia-tinged brand of Rock & Roll/Pop inspired by vintage sounds from the ’60s and ’70s. Recorded in Nashville and locally at The Diamonds (the art/music/fashion workshop/studio in Northside used by The Greenhornes and many others), the album also features assistance from some musicians Cincinnati music lovers may recognize, including Mike Weinel (ex-Heartless Bastards/The High and Low), Jared McKinney (another original Greenhornes member no longer with the band) and Dan Allaire, a former local musician who moved west and joined the Brian Jonestown Massacre. (Currently, Allaire is drummer for the great L.A. Psych/Pop/Rock band Darker My Love.)

On June 11, Olive heads to Bonnaroo to play saxophone in the fest’s legendary “SuperJam,” headed up this year by Auerbach and Voodoo Blues legend Dr. John. The “SuperJam” is one of the more anticipated elements of the decade-old festival. Past SuperJam participants have included Kirk Hammett, Les Claypool, Eugene Hutz (Gogol Bordello), John Paul Jones, Ben Harper, ?uestlove, Bela Fleck, Maceo Parker and members of Phish, to name just a few.

Olive reportedly is also playing sax on Dr. John’s next album.

Unless you’re roadtripping, local fans have a bit of a wait before they can catch Olive at a local venue again. But he’s returning home for a July 23 album release party performance at the Southgate House with local Electronic duo You, You’re Awesome and Detroit rockers Conspiracy of Owls. Tickets can be purchased now here. - Cincinnati City Beat


"The Observer Brian Olive: Two of Everything – Review"

Under the alias Oliver Henry, Brian Olive cut his chops in bands such as the Soledad Brothers and the Greenhornes: retro-leaning, attitudinal outfits who came to some prominence in the slipstream of the White Stripes. Next up are sax parts on Dr John's next album, but in the meantime Olive's second solo offering lends a pleasingly spacey, psychedelic edge to vintage sounds, with sympathetic production provided by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach. You could argue retro soul and R&B are two of the decade's hegemonic sounds, but there's no vamping here. Rather, songs such as "Go On Easy" glide by in an opiated glaze, while "Strange Attracter" makes unexpectedly groovy use of the bagpipes. - The Guardian


"Ohio Against the World at The Grammys"

Despite Frank Ocean's deft leg-syncing and Taylor Swift's torture-porn-disguised-as-wholesome-circus, Akron, Ohio's Dan Auerbach and The Black Keys were The Grammys' big story last night, winning five trophies, the most of any artist.

While the Keys won the Grammys for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, Auerbach scored two solo Grammys for his production work, winning the trophy for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) and also winning one for producing Dr. John's Locked Down, the Blues Album winner.

While Grammys for album winners are usually given to the producers, engineers, mastering engineers and artists, hopefully Cincinnati's Brian Olive will also score one for his work on the LP.
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Auerbach — who has produced albums by both Olive and Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers — enlisted Olive (an original member of Cincinnati's Greenhornes) to work on the Dr. John album. Olive has songwriting credits on every track on Locked Down, and he's also credited with playing guitar, percussion and woodwinds, as well as providing background vocals. (Check out CityBeat's profile of Olive from 2011, about his Auerbach-produced Two of Everything album, here.)

Kudos to Mr. Olive! That's him — the handsome feller with big side-burns playing sax (and a little guitar) in this video for the album's "Revolution." - Cincinnati City Beat


"Dr. John Plays Three Weekends at BAM"

A NEW record by Mac Rebennack, a k a Dr. John, the blues-and-roots potentate, is no big thing per se; it happens every few years. Neither is Dr. John returning to his late-’60s coordinates of super-informed funk, representing the rhythmic trip of West Africa to the Antilles to the American Gulf Coast; he did that recently on “Tribal,” released a year and a half ago.

But “Tribal” probably didn’t go far beyond Dr. John’s own specialized listenership. What’s newsworthy about “Locked Down,” his new album, to be released by Nonesuch on April 3, is that he’s being nuzzled by someone young and much listened-to: Dan Auerbach, singer and guitarist of the Black Keys, the post-garage band that recently sold out a Madison Square Garden show in 15 minutes. Mr. Auerbach collaborated with Dr. John in a set at the Bonnaroo festival last June that I liked very much, with two drummers, backup singers and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. In it Dr. John sang old songs with twisted histories, and the show vibrated with bass, organ, low brass and quiet funk.

Soon after that they recorded “Locked Down” — Mr. Auerbach produces and plays guitar — which is a bit more preening and academic. It’s all original songs, clearly grown out of studio jams. There’s a single drummer here, one of the two from the Bonnaroo show: Max Weissenfeldt, of the German rare-groove band Poets of Rhythm. The keyboardist and bassist, Leon Michels and Nick Movshon, are from the El Michels Affair, one of the bands associated with Dap-Tone records from Brooklyn and the world of retro-funk that brought you the sound of Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” record. (They’ve also both played in the touring version of the Black Keys.) The guitarist Brian Olive, once of the Soledad Brothers, whose own solo album “Two of Everything” was produced last year by Mr. Auerbach, is part of the same fraternity of backward-looking obsessives.

This record will find some fans among those who loved “Back to Black,” and it should. But have you ever wondered how hip is too hip? “Locked Down,” with its down-cold James Black drum rhythms, distorted Fender Rhodes keyboards and free-range, organically farmed reverb, is a useful test case. (By the way, go back and listen to Dr. John’s complicated, spaced-out record “The Sun, Moon & Herbs,” from 1971, when all recordings were analog: are we trying to out-hip that on its own terms?) If Dr. John weren’t grounding it with his casual essence, it might collapse under the weight of its own studied scuff.

But some of it is beautiful, and I look forward to hearing it live. One can do that right around the release date of the record, when Dr. John comes to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for “Insides Out,” a residency spread across three weekends. March 29 to 31 he’ll perform in “A Louis Armstrong Tribute,” which is just what it sounds like but different, including performances from Arturo Sandoval, Rickie Lee Jones and the Blind Boys of Alabama. April 5 to 7 he’ll be performing “Locked Down” with Mr. Auerbach and band; and April 12 to 14 he presents “Funky but It’s Nu Awlins,” with guests from his hometown, including Donald Harrison, Davell Crawford, Ivan Neville, Irma Thomas and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. - New York Times


"Dr. John - Locked Down - Review (album feat. Brian Olive)"

Playing himself in Season One of Treme, Dr. John rehearsed a band for a post-Katrina benefit in New York, wondering if its deep New Orleans jams might create some "confusementalism amongst the Lincoln Center set." They probably did – but at 71, Dr. John has been balancing cultural ambassadorship with jive-talking nightclub hustle for decades. Born and raised in New Orleans' Third Ward, he took his game wide, logging time in New York and Los Angeles before settling back home. He shuffled styles like cards, as anyone familiar with the freaky R&B of 1968's Gris- Gris or 1971's The Sun, Moon & Herbs knows. Purism, after all, has little to do with Nawlins' melting-pot soul.

It's the voodoo-gumbo jazz funk of those early records that the former Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. revisits on Locked Down, a collaboration with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, who produces and plays guitar. Full of muscled, vintage R&B grooves, fevered soloing, psychedelic arrangements and oracular mumbo jumbo, it's the wildest record Rebennack has made in many years. And it announces Auerbach's arrival alongside Danger Mouse as an A-list retro-modern studio scientist.

Born of a jam session at last year's Bonnaroo, a festival named after Dr. John's 1974 LP Desitively Bonnaroo, Locked Down is a record made by pros steeped in vintage rock and R&B – not just Auerbach and his crew, but Rebennack himself, the son of a record-shop owner who began his career in the 1950s as a teenage sideman and arranger.

Rebennack played guitar until he got a finger blown off trying to protect a bandmate from a pistol-whipping at age 21; he then made the keyboard his primary instrument. On Locked Down, he smears electric-piano tones all over; the Farfisa solo on "Revolution" is a squealing wonder, the looping riff on "Getaway" a ferocious groove engine. Meanwhile, Auerbach shares guitar duties with kindred old-schooler and garage-rock vet Brian Olive; the pair supply spinal rhythm on the Stax/Volt-style single "Revolution," counterpoint dazzle on "Big Shot" and solo fireworks (via Auerbach) on the pimp-rolling title track.

If the album's components are retro, the pastiche has a 21st-century sensibility. Ghostly backing vocals waft through "Big Shot," which sounds like a Tom Waits-meets-Gnarls Barkley jam. The album is flush with dub-reggae effects and the grooves of Nigerian Afrobeat and Ethiopian funk, styles that have become memes for a new generation (see Tune-Yards, TV on the Radio, etc.).

Lyrically, the Doctor brings the confusementalism, diagnosing the present through the past in a more weathered version of his trademark nasal growl: Check "Ice Age," the album's stickiest jam, which juggles generations of slang, conjuring conspiracy theories and drug-culture shell games that have changed little over the years. All told, Locked Down is that rare thing: a retro exercise that looks forward, by an old hustler and a young player who, in the process of making a great record, probably taught each other a thing or two. - Rolling Stone


"Brian Olive Review"

Brian Olive used to deliver potent garage rock guitar with the Greenhornes and blues-punk sax hollering with the Soledad Brothers, but he's expanded his sonic palette in a big way on his first solo album. Most of the tunes on Brian Olive are rooted in rhythm & blues in one way or another, but the man sure isn't shy about showing how many ways he can bend the sound to his will; "Stealin'" is a funky New Orleans second-line shuffle, "Jubilee Line" has a bassline James Jamerson would have been happy to call his own fortified with free jazz sax wailing, "High Low" reveals echoes of 1950s cool jazz for bachelor pads, and "Killing Stone" is a piano-based rocker that recalls the early-'70s Rolling Stones. Olive also dips his toes into breezy faux-tropicalia on the light and sensuous "Echoing Light" and some tripped-out acoustic psychedelia on "There Is Love." Olive clearly scores high on the eclecticism checklist, but he's also a fine songwriter, generating memorable tunes regardless of his stylistic bag, and he's put together a solid backing band for these sessions (including fellow Greenhornes Jared McKinney and Craig Fox and ex-Heartless Bastards Mike Weinel), and if his vocals aren't always as strong as the arrangements that surround them (he sounds more comfortable on the quieter numbers than the ones where he needs to belt it out), he has the right feel if not always the proper degree of force. Overall, Brian Olive is an impressive and pleasing solo debut that shows his chops as a producer, arranger, and songwriter make him more than just some Midwest sideman, and he should get back into the studio posthaste if there's more where this came from. - All Music


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