Album: Riverside Battle Songs
Styles: Country, Folk, Rock, Folk Rock
Release Date: August 1, 2006
Quality / Bitrate: MP3 / 320 kbit/s
Byron Isaacs Vocal, Bass, Dobro
Fiona McBain Vocal, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Amy Helm Vocal, Mandola
Tony Leone Vocal, Percussion
Glenn Patscha Vocal, Keyboards, Accordion
Inspired by everything from bluegrass and blues to country and gospel, Ollabelle takes these classic sounds and adds a subtle modern touch. The band, which formed - surprisingly enough - in New York’s East Village, features Amy Helm on vocals and mandola, Byron Isaacs on vocal, bass, and dobro, Tony Leone on vocals, drums, and percussion, Fiona McBain on vocals and guitars, and Glenn Patscha on vocals, keyboards, and accordion. Joining the group for Riverside Battle Songs as producer was the multi-talented Larry Campbell, who also contributed and guitars, lap steel, pedal steel, banjo, cittern, and fiddle.
Riverside Battle Songs was produced by Larry Campbell with Ollabelle and mixed by GRAMMY® winners T-Bone Burnett and Mike Piersante (O Brother Where Art Thou? Soundtrack, Down from the Mountain). The album was engineered by Tom Schick.
With Riverside Battle Songs, Ollabelle presents an album full of beautiful vocal harmonies and pristine arrangements. Boasting five different lead singers, all of whom also write, Ollabelle manages to present a wide ranging yet cohesive set of songs that appeal to an adult audience. From the funky opener, a potent interpretation of “See Line Woman,” to the powerful “Riverside,” to the bluesy, catchy closer “Last Lullaby,” Riverside Battle Songs is a solid CD packed with layers both musical and emotional.
Nine of the album’s 13 tracks were written by Ollabelle, including Hi Rhythm section meets Taj Mahal groove of “Reach for Love,” the New Orleans flavored “Fall Back,” and the emotional “Northern Star.” The moody rocker “High on a Mountain” (a song written by the band’s namesake, traditional Appalachian singer Ola Belle Reed), the contemplative “Heaven’s Pearls,” and the tender “Everything Is Broken,” are just some of the tunes offering a variety of feelings, textures, and moods. Other songs on the record include “Troubles of the World,” “Dream the Fall,” “Blue Northern Lights,” and “Gone Today” which range from the gospel interpretation similar to the bands acclaimed debut, to Celtic instrumentation, to story song, to raw bluegrass.
With the musical maturity of this sophomore release, Ollabelle extend their accomplishment of forging a singular style bridging folk and art songs from the talents of five singer-songwriters. While Amy Helm, daughter of the Band's Levon, boasts the highest-profile lineage, the two-woman, three-man band has the balance of a democratic collective, combining deep roots with soaring, sophisticated harmonies. "Troubles of the World," an elegiac reading of the traditional "Riverside," the call-and-response of "Gone Today," and the closing "Last Lullaby" reflect the spiritual underpinnings of the quintet's signature sound, but the stylistic range extends from the Caribbean lilt of the opening "See Line Woman" and the stately country waltz of "Heaven's Pearls" to the delta blues of "Fall Back" and the Celtic balladry of "Dream the Fall." Except for the lovesick "Blue Northern Lights" and the bittersweet delicacy of "Everything Is Broken," it's difficult to distinguish the band's arrangements of traditional material from the original songwriting that dominates. Larry Campbell, formerly of Bob Dylan's band, provides superb production and multi-instrumental support. –Don McLeese
01. See Line Woman
02. High On A Mountain
03. Heaven's Pearls
04. Fall Back
05. Dream The Fall
06. Blue Northern Lights
07. Reach For Love
08. Troubles Of The World
09. Riverside10. Northern Star
10. Northern Star
11. Gone Today
12. Everything Is Broken
13. Last Lullaby
Ollabelle - 2006 - Riverside Battle Songs.part1 - 66.76 MB
Ollabelle - 2006 - Riverside Battle Songs.part2 - 56.26 MB