Oliver Thiessen made his debut on Slowcoustic in October 2008. We knew back then that Oliver was talent and we couldn’t wait for his first full-length album. Here is a little he said / she said from Slowcoustic HQ (meaning, the wife is a huge fan and wanted to be part of “Three Hills” part II).
I was really excited to hear Oliver Thiessen was finally going to give me more than four songs to pour over (to be fair he does provide a few extras on his myspace page but I was holding out for the full album). Volcanoes And Factories, released in 2009 did not disappoint. Thiessen considers himself a searcher and someone who is always learning. When I listen to the album I see him as an observer. There is a maturity to his new music that makes me think he has seen sorrow and felt heartbreak.
Thiessen uses his voice as much as his guitar and his lyrics together do more than create a song. My favourite song on the album is Chimney Company because it highlights his voice and the thoughtfulness of his lyrics. The indie artist is alive and well.
“Chimney Company” – Oliver Thiessen
Well, so we know the wifey likes Mr. Thiessen (but she is known for having a crush on Canadian indie talent…I’m looking at you Wheat Pool).
I was also looking forward to Thiessen’s album as I did see here and there clues towards it’s imminent release via Myspace, etc but didn’t actually know until he emailed me to let me know it was finished. I still don’t really know if it is “officially” released, but if not it will be shortly. The album is for the most part a cohesive project with his patent delicate vocals over a steady strumming of an acoustic guitar. He has brought in a few more elements to beef up parts of the album as being a solo performer it can get too sparse at times and this definitely brings an enhanced experience to the album.
Being a sad bastard at heart, I enjoy a truly down trodden acoustic track and I believe this is where Thiessen excels. Songs like “Barcelona”, “Unions”, “Warrior” (tragically beautiful), “Bad State of Mind” (that last full minute is stellar with almost Jim James of My Morning Jacket falsetto finishing the track!) and even a touch of melancholic angst in “Smoke in the House”. I have said it before and will say it again, the songs of loss, separation and the stresses of life changing decisions make for such good subject matter on Slowcoustic…
It isn’t all slow as molasses, crying in your drink music here – you can take refuse in the title track “Volcanoes and Factories”, “James Dean” and even “Norwegian Girl” which might not all be lighter context for meaning but he provides a lighter “plate” to serve his brand of lamentable folk music.
My chosen track is “Barcelona” which is a drifting story that floats you from start to finish. There is a back vocal track of who I assume to be Thiessen humming along to the medley – it might sound like it is an odd choice, but it really works. The track was originally featured on an international “Chill Out Acoustic” compilation from Quickstar and released last December (see it on iTunes). It is also another good example of a great track from some of our “local talent” around Alberta!
“Barcelona” – Oliver Thiessen
Visit Oliver Thiessen:
p.s. If you are local and have the opportunity, please consider stopping by The Ship & Anchor on January 2nd to see Oliver! Might be perfect to get you over the cold January in Calgary!
p.p.s. His Myspace has a bunch of festive tracks to stream.
p.p.p.s. Bonus video of a great track from Oliver: