Angel on earth: Singer-songwriter’s voice more earthy than angelic on new album

While Angel Olsen is soft spoken, and a woman of few words, the 27-year-old’s singing voice can boom over an electric band. Her ethereal vocals sound like a young Roy Orbison, yet her lyrics are much more haunting than “Crying.”

click to enlarge Olsen will perform 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Mikey's Gyros.
Olsen will perform 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Mikey's Gyros.

Olsen and her band are on tour with her latest album “Burn Your Fire for No Witness,” which was released Feb. 18 under Jagjaguwar, an indie rock record label that backs bands such as The Cave Singers and Bon Iver.

Here, Olsen talks about her album and the inspiration behind it, before the tour sends her to Mikey’s Gyros in Moscow, and even as far as Amsterdam and France.

How does “Burn Your Fire for No Witness” compare to your other CD and EP? This one has a full band, and there’s piano and organ on it. I was working with an actual producer in a studio, whereas in the other two, the first one was self-recorded, and the second one was recorded with Emmett Kelly. So, it was a mix of a lot of change.

When did you first get interested in music? I was pretty young. I had always been kind of writing, not necessarily lyrical songs, but just making melodies and stuff, and playing piano and keyboard. When I was 16 or 17, that was when I started writing more serious stuff.

How would you describe your music? It’s dynamic and it’s both very quiet and reflective and very loud and almost, I would even say on this upcoming record, it sounds like a band in some way.

Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics? I read a lot. Sometimes I just go through dry spells and I don’t really write anything and then I can watch a movie and it gives me an idea and it gives me some sort of epiphany.

How will it be to tour in Europe again? To bring a full band is going to be a different experience. It’s going to be an adventure because some of the Europe highways are weird, and you have to drive on the other side. I plan on coming home and not doing a lot. Where I live is pretty mellow; it’s surrounded by mountains. Even if you’re not hiking, the fact that you can look outside your window and see them is pretty nice.

What has been the biggest accomplishment of your music career so far? Actually having the faith to give my music to someone to put out into the world, I didn't actually plan on. I never felt comfortable recording my own music and releasing it. That seed was the reason why all of this is surrounding me right now. If I hadn’t just given my music, even if it was a tape release to this guy, it wouldn’t have happened.

Treffry can be contacted at (208) 883-4640 or Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTreffry.

->if you go: WHAT: Angel Olsen performs WHEN: 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 9 p.m. WHERE: Mikey’s Gyros, 527 S. Main St., Moscow COST: $8 in advance through Stereopathic Presents at or $10 at the door

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