She'll Be Alright

Nancy Dawn Olson steps away from band for new EP

Katelyn Hendren, photos by Andrea Paulseth

For her new solo EP, singer-songwriter Nancy Dawn Olson tapped a number of local music veterans. Above: Olson performs a pre-show set at the Sounds Like Summer Concert series on August 15.
For her new solo EP, singer-songwriter Nancy Dawn Olson tapped a number
of local music veterans. Above: Olson performs a pre-show set at the
Sounds Like Summer Concert series on August 15.

Local singer-songwriter Nancy Dawn Olson recently released an EP entitled I’ll Be Alright featuring six of her newest songs. I’ll Be Alright is a collaboration with many musicians, including Evan Middlesworth (bass player, rhythm guitarist and producer of Olson’s EP), Sue Orfield (saxophonist and acoustic guitarist), Lucas Fischer and John Neitz (lead guitar), Levi Felling and Zach Brawford, (percussion) and Olaf Lind (violin). 

Usually performing with her band Top Shelf Widow, Olson’s solo project songs have the feel of a ballad – complete with clever lyrics, pop culture references, storytelling motifs, and strong instrumentation that blends blues, jazz, rock, country and pop to create a unique sound. Throughout her songs, the electric guitar provides an edgy rock sound with smooth, drawn-out riffs while the piano keeps the songs syncopated. The violin varies between smooth long runs and staccato parts while the saxophone adds a soulful blues element. Olson’s vocals are emotionally vulnerable, providing the perfect match to the strength and syncopation of each song. The EP as a whole is emotionally wrought with vivid stories of betrayal, heartbreak, and romantic longing. In short, Olson’s EP has all the elements that will allow listeners to connect emotionally with the songs. 

Olson’s spark to write her own music came at the age of eight while she was listening to her dad play chords on the guitar. “What I like most about writing my own music is the spontaneity of coming up with a good idea and watching that idea evolve into something new. Something as small as a phrase or word could trigger an idea.  I also love the freedom to create and collaborate with other people and musicians who can add something that fits perfectly with a particular song,” says Olson.  

Nancy Dawn Olson has also combined her musical talent and songwriting ability to create a unique songwriting business called LoveStrings Music.

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