Angel Olsen’s Voice Shines Bright on her New Album, Half Way Home

Angel Olsen has one of those rare voices that deserves to be heard. You might actually have already heard it and didn’t even know it from her work with Bonnie “Prince” Billy and The Cairo Gang, but when I first heard her debut Strange Cacti a while back, I was instantly mesmerized by her unique voice. She self-describes it as, “Never changing, always changing” which makes perfect sense after listening to her newest album Half Way Home from Bathetic Records. I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions regarding what she’s learned from being on the road, as well as how she came up with the cover art for her new record.

In regards to the cover art for Half Way Home… “The cover work for the album began as a photograph of a girl looking out into the mountains from a high point. It was taken from the top of Knapps Castle, just outside of Santa Ynez. I asked Steve Krakow/Plastic Crimewave  to make a drawing based upon that image. I’ve always been a fan of his magazine, Galactic Zoo Dossier, and his column in The Chicago Reader “The secret history of chicago music”.  He’s been a friend for years and I thought if anyone should work on this, it should be him.” As for why she didn’t use a photo… “I didn’t want to use a photo of myself in the end. I felt that I shouldn’t be framed this time around, something else should be.”

I also asked if her time on the road with The Cairo Gang and Bonnie “Prince” Billy affected her own music or performance… “In so many ways – to be brief… my time with them has helped me develop as a person as a voice, greatly. Much of the material for Half Way Home was written before working with Bonnie Prince and the Cairo Gang. While working on the road with this group, I was allowing those songs to breathe and take new forms. I wanted to allow them to become something more than just a girl with a guitar, even if I am still a girl with a guitar at the end of the day.”

Angel has an upcoming show this Friday January 4, 2013 at the Bootleg Bar in LA. She’s definitely looking forward to the show… “I’m excited to be where the sun is and to be visiting there this time of year. I think it will be a blast.. If I could mentally afford to stay there I would, but I feel very busy in Chicago right now.”

Tickets are still available for her upcoming date at the Bootleg via Ticketfly as well as an upcoming show in her hometown of Chicago at The Hideout in February. Trust me, she’s much more than just “a girl with a guitar”.



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