Seven months after the release of her most recent and critically acclaimed LP, Angel Olsen is giving us all a little more. A deluxe release of Burn Your Fire For No Witness, including 5 brand new songs, was released in November. Among the new tracks is the refreshing single, “All Right Now.”
Now, there’s no arguing that Angel possesses a unique, almost singular style. It’s as easy to admit her talents in tone and range as it is to let your emotions ride the rise and fall of her melodic waves.Burn Your Fire For No Witness showcased brilliantly her ethereal vocals, often on the verge of trembling, yet controlled with powerful conviction.
But with “All Right Now”, the single from her batch of deluxe tracks, she steps back from heavy lyrical content to reveal a more secret weapon: space. From the almost whispered opening to the sparsely placed instrumentation, “All Right Now” moves gracefully through open air with a delicate hand. And while her single flows nicely with the rest of her LP, it stands out by feeling light as a feather, full of dreamy optimism without sparing an ounce of vulnerability.
One stormy night in April, I was lucky enough to see Angel perform. I made the drive with a few friends to Off Broadway, in her home town of St. Louis, excited to see her for the first time. I had long heard about her captivating brand of performances from several friends of mine. “Spellbinding” was often used to describe the experience. We stood at the front, watching Nashville openers Promised Land Sound play a set of groovy space country as the crowd grew larger and larger. The success ofBurn Your Fire For No Witness brought many new and younger fans to join Olsen’s old friends and family members in the audience.
When Angel stepped on stage to a roar of applause, she was smiling from ear to ear. The hushed hometown crowd stood in rapt attention as she made her way through new songs, which had only been out for a couple months at the time. That didn’t stop us all from singing along. She was humbled by the turnout and sweetly soft spoken, but she sang with commanding boldness, making fearless eye contact with the crowd.
Maybe it was the full band behind her, maybe it was the familiar faces in the crowd, maybe it was the success of her latest recorded effort – but something told me that this experience was very different than any before. Spellbinding and intimate as it was, there was nothing timid about it. She had matured, come into her own and knew how to put on a show.
As her body of work progresses, Angel Olsen seems increasingly more self-assured. And like so many proud members of that St. Louis audience, I’m excited to cheer her on. Whatever the next step in her journey will bring, it sure is nice to hear her pause and say, “It’s all right now.”
(art by Daniel Zender)