The Olga Watkins Band

The Olga Watkins Band

BandBluesAdult Contemporary

The Olga Watkins Band performs a fresh variety of blues, soul, jazz, funk, R&B and reggae in a style that seamlessly fuses these genres for a truly original sound. Olga Watkins brings powerhouse vocals into a perfect mix of exceptionally talented musicians, ideal for the adult contemporary market


The Olga Watkins Band was just voted #2 Best Blues Band in Pittsburgh for 2009 in the Pittsburgh City Paper's reader's Poll.
Olga Watkins is a classically trained vocalist and chef who started singing again in 2002 after a ten year break from music. Olga occasionally performs the Nation Anthem for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins. Her influences include Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin and Ertha Kitt. She has often been compared to several of her influences, most commonly Etta James and Aretha Franklin. Olga feels fortunate to have met and begun performing with Subha Das, a Masters level educated, award winning, drummer and percussionist, at that point in her musical journey. The band came together from there. Subha was in the Micah Burgess trio. Micah was one of only a few musicians willing to take time to rehearse the old standards with Olga and she became his vocalist. The distance traveled from those first gigs to today’s band has been funny, frustrating, incredibly enlightening, crazy, tiresome and exhilarating. When Micah moved to NYC, Subha and Olga regrouped as another trio with pianist Craig Davis. Olga will tell you that she has learned more than she could have imagined about making music from all of the boys in the band, beginning with Craig. Craig Davis is an extraordinarily talented pianist, composer, arranger with whom Olga recorded a duo CD entitled “Simplicity”. Craig challenged Olga to write lyrics for Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” and she did. You’ll hear the evolution of that tune on the new Olga Watkins Band CD. After Craig was no longer a part of the trio, Olga and Subha went through a lot of gigs with other groups and too many one time gigs with too many keyboardists, bassists and guitarists looking for the right chemistry. Olga was referred to a young pianist/keyboardist/arranger/composer/overachiever/boy scout named Mason Embry, currently finishing his Masters in music at Middle Tennessee State, who was then the new kid in town. Olga hired him for a gig, went to rehearse with him and knew right away that she was the luckiest chick singer alive. By Miss Olga’s standards, Mason Embry is as impressive a person as he is a supremely talented musician. In the meantime, Mason and Subha had seen Jason Hollar, Temple graduate and owner operator of Cadillac Jazz, perform and insisted that Olga call him to play bass for their next gig. That’s when the real Olga Watkins Band was born. These four have enjoyed performing with each other AND just hanging out together. They have a great chemistry musically and have generally had a really good time. When Mason moved to Nashville the band added Jay Weaver, Duquesne Music School graduate and owner-operator of Sound Color Productions, a teaching and recording studio in Mt. Lebanon, PA. Jay clicked with everyone in the band and brought a fresh new component as well as more original music to the mix. He is far more talented than he realizes and his humility and modesty make his monster guitar playing all the more enjoyable. Jason Hollar, who is recently taking a little personal time away from the band, has been replaced by bassist, composer, vocalist and soon to be father of twins, Brian Sanders who joined the band in the early spring of 2009.
Brian Sanders began studying bass guitar at age eleven. He first performed in church and soon after in a high school band. Brian has worked extensively in the gospel music field as a composer, singer and choir director as and with gospel artists such as Douglas Miller, Darrel Coley, Vicky Winans, Edwin Hawkins and Yolanda Adams in addition to touring Germany with the Golden Gospel Singers. He has completed several European tours with the Poogie Bell Band and performs in the Pittsburgh Market with Poogie Bell, the Dwayne Dolphin Band, the Olga Watkins Band and numerous others. Brian naturally catches the attention of audiences everywhere. He is highly regarded among his fellow musicians for his talent as a rock solid “in the pocket” bass guitarist as well as for his professionalism and easy going nature.
The OWB has not had a lot of the trials and tribulations of many bands, due in part to the fact that they are all professionals who love music AND appreciate the business of making music. Since everyone in the band is a thirty-something with students, families, businesses and/or homes to manage, they don’t know where their cooperative efforts will lead them. But they will definitely make the most of this journey and follow at least one path together as far as it will take them.
The blend of fresh, original blues, soul, jazz, funk and R&B is a comfortable group effort that leaves listeners only wanting more.
More about the Olga Watkins Band can be found at and at
The band also has pages here:


Olga Watkins Live at the Legendary Crawford Grill in Pittsburgh, PA
Original tracks include Got Your Sugar, It's a Lie, Run Around Blues and Shady Katie, all written by Olga Watkins
Olga's music has been played on 96.9 BOB FM and Q92.9FM in Pittsburgh and is available on itunes, Song sprouts, Napster, and Emusic as well as directly from her website

Set List

The Olga Watkins Band typically performs in one of two formats. The concert and festival format is a set of primarily original music lasting approximately 90 minutes, based on the specific event. The list of originals includes the following;
Hard Working Woman
(rock blues shuffle)
Got Your Sugar
Long Time Coming
(soul-gospel style ballad)
It's a Lie
(jump blues shuffle)
Run Around Blues
(traditional 12 bar blues)
Bad Dog
(rock-jazz fusion)
Ain't Got Time
Shady Katie
(street beat blues)
Ella's Lullaby
(acoustic ballad)
Tell the Truth
(blues ballad)
Covers in a typical show include;
Take Five
(jam band style arrangement, original lyrics by Olga Watkins)
God Bless the Child
(pop ballad arrangement)
Baby I Love You
Reckless Love
Summertime (funk/R&B)
Damn Your Eyes
Night Time Blues
I Need Your Love So Bad
Caravan (funk-jazz fusion)
and more

The band also performs 2 seventy-five minutes sets in club settings that req