by Ollabelle
4.5 4

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New York sextet Ollabelle's music is a hybrid of indigenous American styles, mixing folk, blues, and gospel, and drawing upon traditional sources to create something that sounds wholly new. If one is tempted to say "you've never heard anything quite like this before," it isn't because the ingredients are unfamiliar, it's because the mixture and the approach are. The alternating male and female vocalists usually sing traditional material, with arrangements that recall the kind of updated authenticity of Ry Cooder as much as the original sources. Somehow, these performances steer in between the alternating obstacles of sounding too retro on the one hand or taking an ironic posture on the other. The performers seem utterly immersed in the music, utterly sincere in their singing (though it would be surprising to find that their commitment to the religious lyrics was anything but figurative), yet they clearly are reaching back to their archaic sources through the context of contemporary music. Their few originals are of a piece with the traditional material, and even a revival of the Rolling Stones' "I Am Waiting" fits right in. It's no surprise that T-Bone Burnett's DMZ label is issuing this debut, since Burnett has demonstrated his affinity for American roots music and ability to recontextualize it for the 21st century. And it is appropriate that the Band's Levon Helm, doubtless the father of the group's Amy Helm, drums on "Soul of a Man." Ollabelle is trying to create a new sound out of long-standing folk-based musical styles in much the same way that the Band did with Music From Big Pink in 1968. The wonder is how well the group succeeds. Ollabelle is a moving collection of performances that will remind the listener of the emotional depth and scope of American music. If there is any disc capable of turning the term "Americana" into a full-fledged musical genre, this is it.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/04/2009
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC: 0886974875727
catalogNumber: 748757


  1. Before This Time
  2. Soul of a Man
  3. Elijah Rock
  4. Jesus on the Mainline
  5. Get Back Temptation
  6. I Am Waiting
  7. Two Steps
  8. No More My Lawd
  9. Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus
  10. The Storms Are on the Ocean
  11. John The Revelator
  12. I'm Willing to Run All the Way
  13. I Don't Want to Be That Man
  14. All Is Well

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ollabelle   Primary Artist
Levon Helm   Drums
Jimi Zhivago   Bass,Harmonica,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Electric Upright Bass,Hi String
Sean Costello   Guitar,Electric Guitar,national steel guitar
Glenn Patscha   Organ,Dumbek,Vocals,Clavinet,Pump Organ,bass pedals,Wurlitzer,Casio
Liz Tormes   Vocals
Amy Helm   Vocals
Byron Isaacs   Electric Bass,Slide Guitar,Acoustic Bass
Tony Leone   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Vocals
Fiona McBain   Percussion,Vocals,national steel guitar

Technical Credits

Mick Jagger   Composer
Alan Lomax   Arranger,Composer
Mother Maybelle Carter   Composer
Bessie Jones   Composer
Andraé Crouch   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Sara Carter   Composer
Keith Richards   Composer
Steve Rosenthal   Producer
Jimi Zhivago   Composer
Glenn Patscha   Composer
Liz Tormes   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Amy Helm   Composer
Byron Isaacs   Composer
Juan Garcia   Engineer
Juan Bautista Sánchez García   Engineer
Tony Leone   Composer
Fiona McBain   Composer
Pete Deboer   Engineer
Ollabelle   Arranger

Customer Reviews

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Ollabelle 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I put this CD in my personal player and it played through 3 times before I could stop listening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I received this after the death of my mother and I want to pass it along to friends. I listen to it over and over. It is so beautiful.
glauver More than 1 year ago
After a listen to this CD my first reaction was: monotonous. I don't think that was fair but I do think a few uptempo tunes would have improved this collection. Gospel songs can be somber but they can also be joyous. If this collection brings people to an appreciation of American spiritual music, that is good. Perhaps another listen or two may change my assesment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This ensemble takes a style that is very repetitive, and manages to say something different with each repetition. I hope there is more to come!