Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Driftwood Sailors-Live at the Beach May 30, 2011


The Driftwood Sailors-Live at                                                                       The Beach                 May 30, 2011

Live albums are notoriously some of the worst releases by artist simply because it is so hard to capture that moment of musical magic in a live performance. Generally, many bands cannot pull off good live recordings. Those few classic live albums that sail far above the pack, The Allman Brothers Band Live at the Fillmore East double album being the pinnacle of live albums and set the standard for all that follow or have come before. With the Driftwood Sailors release of Live at the Beach, they prove they belong in the playing field, by delivering a live performance that is rock solid. Amanda Lee Peers is a singer with a natural soulfulness to her voice. Steaming with passion, power and most of all emotion, Amanda is heir apparent to the fill the shoes of Miss Amy Winehouse, their styles are treading the same ground and both have the DNA in their blood to switch between styles of rock, soul, pop, and anything in between. To record live and capture the magic is one of the most difficult things artist try to do and the Driftwood Sailors have done that with ease.

Simply put Amanda Lee Peers is the power behind this band. Her performance stands as the true force of powerful soaring vocals, pushing the band along with guts and soul. She is able to handle all the styles changes with equal success, from pop, to rock to soul this young woman delivers, as does the rest of the Driftwood Sailors by adding their own blend of musical styles to each song. The band captures the groove of each track the way the singer does the vocals.

The Driftwood Sailors are not treading new ground they are digging in the same old ground that has been there since the early years of American music, St. James Infirmary is a classic blues/jazz track from the turn of the century. Sail On is a indeed a power ballad in a more modern style, yet the vocals of Amanda sail down into the anguish of the blues and show the power of her emotion. Even as the ground is a familiar mix of styles each song is a sound collage that defies style genre, Rock, Soul, Blues, Jazz, well simply put it is one of the most powerful artist live releases in some time.

If you do not buy another compact disc this year, make it the Driftwood Sailors Live at the Beach let them take you on a modern day journey down to the roots of American music.


OLGA interview


Chatting with Olga who’s new album is a tour de force that features Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on guitar. She talks about her life and music.

Tell us a little about yourself? Where you born and where did you go to school etc?

I am full Austrian, born in San Francisco and grew up there and in the
area. I went to the Nueva School and had a Yehudi Menuin music
there. Thereafter I went into public high school and got heavily
in the drama department there and community theater (San Mateo
Arts Center)
When did you first start listening seriously to music?

As far back as I can remember. Probably really noticed it about age three or four

I wrote my first song when I was four.
What music were you listening to back then?

Classical music and then when I was 7 I got a radio and listened to the
songs on the radio (80’s pop).

As you grew up when did you start singing?
As long as I can remember. I wrote my first song when I was 4.

Did you play in lots of cover bands growing up?

No, I did not play in any.

What kind of styles were you playing?

 Growing up did members of your family play music?
No, no one did though on my mother’s side of the family there were some
classical musicians but they were all deceased by the time I arrived.
6. How has music affected your outlook on life?
It is the first thing I hear when I wake in the morning and the last
I hear when I go to sleep. I even hear it in my sleep sometimes… So
is a part of my consciousness and were it not to be there, I would feel
like I am missing a limb or something…

The influences in life, family, church, teachers, friends,
and experiences all mesh into a fabric of life. These subjects tend to
come out in most people’s songs. Are there one or two songs that have
specific meaning to you?

They all have meaning to me! And when I cover someone else’s song, it
also because there is some inherent meaning to me and I connect with
The best songs in my opinion are universal and they may have been
at a certain time about a certain person or event, but they will adapt
whatever situation you find yourself in presently.

Many people pick one or two artists that they feel are their main
influences, which artist would you say had a major influence on your

Jessie Mae Hemphill and Peggy Lee.
Music is a tough business, especially these days, what have you
able to do to better position yourself for success?
I started working in movies!

Anything specific you can share with other struggling artist.
Maintain a positive attitude which is extremely hard to do especially
these days. I am still a struggling artist myself and this is really
the only advice I can give; to stay mentally and physically sound.

Do you feel the local artist influenced you more or are you
more by the music you listen too?

I am mostly listening to the music that is in my head. I don’t listen
much otherwise as I find it interferes with my thoughts and ideas.
Otherwise I listen to old country and blues and 80’s pop songs when I
a break. And Italian language tapes and German podcasts!

Do you write all of your own songs?
How do you come up with song ideas to write about?

Life. I usually write about first hand experience otherwise I make it a
first person experience in the song.

You have Cody Dickinson, of the North Mississippi All-stars on
your cd as a guest artist, how did you meet Cody and get him involved with
your cd?

I’ve known Cody and his brother Luther for over 12 years now; we met
I still lived in Boulder, CO and worked as a radio DJ. I met Cody first
actually, at a Ozomatli show where they opened up for them and also
Galactic. When I saw them play I was really struck by the fact that
they were young white kids my age playing the blues and that was so rare for
me to encounter. In addition, they were into the same style blues I was
(north MS hill country). Will-Dog of  Ozomatli ended up introducing us
(the dressing rooms were next to each other) and said “you guys need to meet
cause you’re both into the same things” and that was that. We are
spirits and playing music with him is intuitive not to mention

I was working with another friend, Winn McElroy who produced,
engineered and mixed the album. I had laid down the guitar and scratch vocals
(most of which were kept) and told him I was going to have Cody play drums.
I had already talked to Cody about wanting to make a sort of 80’s pop
record and he loves 80’s pop. When he came in to do drums, he got inspired and
said “hey let me add some bass to that” and then the next thing was
that we ended up doing the whole thing together. It took about a year. Winn
also played guitar and bass guitar on a couple of tracks and he is
the one who took everything and made it into the polished finished sound we
were looking for. Winn really knows his stuff!

Do you think you might team up with Cody again in the future?
Yes, for sure. We have already been discussing ideas for new songs and
doing some recording again here soon.

Currently, what is happening in your career that you would like to
share with the readers?

Well the industry is changing so much it has become more and more
difficult to make a living in music. I realize that you can’t fight the
change you just have to survive and adapt to it somehow. I just read an
article that the major labels will cease pressing cds in 2012, which I
knew was coming; people don’t buy cds anymore and mostly only download
songs. Artists struggle more now than ever before and it’s ever more so
challenging to keep a positive frame of mind and attitude. What else
can you do?

The next immediate goal is to make 3 music videos for the new album. I
believe that people like to see the visual along with hearing the music
and so that’s my plan. I am also working in the film and television
industry quite a bit these days so I will continue doing that. My short
film “Statue” which I co-star in and features my music, just won
another award for Best Short Film at the Ocelot Robot Film Festival in Los
Angeles in early November.

Is there anything you would like to add or share with the readers?

Cody and I are playing a Christmas show in Como, MS on December 10th.
Here is a facebook link to the info. We plan on doing more soon!

Thank you again Olga for doing this interview. Thanks for taking the
to share your thoughts and plans with our readers.

As Always,

Olga  featuring Cody Dickinson

Venice Gas House Trolley Burst Open


Venice Gas House Trolley is not your typical rock and roll band; they play a jam, fusion rock style such as Frank Zappa played on Zoot Allures era. Somewhere between Laurie Anderson and Zappa is where Venice Gas House Trolley plies their trade.
The vocalist sounds a bit like Lou Reed or Zappa and has a bit in common with Laurie Anderson and Tom Waits with their spoken word phrasing.
Mixing in lyrics that stir the imagination, much the way Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow, The Torture Never Stops, Sharkey’s Day and What’s He Building In There do to listeners?
The musical mix of styles blends the psychedelic sounds with free form jamming that has a lot in common with jazz as well as jam bands. This blend of sounds draws from the river of classic music of artist that came before them. The music twists and turns into free form psychedelic jam sessions with rock and jazz overtones. The quality of musicianship is excellent and they forge their way through the forest of influences picking up the juiciest bits, including them in the mix like hidden treasures. Because fans know, the quality of musicianship is excellent. The band will have a huge underground following because of their excellent live shows. They also know the artist is more about having a bit of fun instead of taking on the problems of the world.
On track eight the bands takes a more straight rock vocal style and it works well, but with, Shakin’ Her Hips they Continue to explore the realms of Zappa influences that abound in the band and powers the track into a driving number.
A band like Venice Gas House Trolley does not need hype all they need is for the fan to listen to their compact disc or see them live. They put together sounds that change direction as un announced as a driver in Rhode Island. You never know if they are going to go into free form Jazz playing or deliver a hard edge psychedelic jam fusion style that blends all the many different influences of the band. Never knowing what you will hear is one of the great joys of listening to music. Listening to the Venice Gas House Trolley is like riding down new road that has familiar attributes of roads you have traveled in the past, but offers new landmarks and new views of the past. Venice Gas House Trolley delivers a seminal album that will have its place in the record book of time.