Art as a whole involves an alchemystic process in order to become a physical property. The painting, song, film or poem comes from the creator’s mind and onto a blank canvas. What was once nothing is something substantial after a combination of strokes, edits, stanzas or notes. Providence wizard pop artist Olivia Dolphin embraces this magical transition within music via her new album Lion-Hearted Blood that was released via the Cranston based record label Pitch & Prose on April 8. With her voice and her piano, she exhibits a stellar amount of harmony, melody, rhythm and progression while being joined by a few collaborators.
Dolphin wrote all the songs herself while co-producing the record with Jay Ferguson as he handled the recording, mixing and mastering. Ferguson also lent his musical talents by playing acoustic guitar, bass and percussion along with singing backing vocals in various tracks. Pitch & Prose A&R Director and the man behind the wizard rock act The Whomping Willows, Matt Maggiacomo, ripped some riffs via his electric guitar while Charlie Larson added his skills on saxophone into the equation. Percussionist Bradley Mehlenbacher and Jeff Kidd on harmonica rounded out the lineup of contributors on the album. This melding of talents is noticeable within each song and each instrument makes their presence felt in their own way.
While evidently having a pop vibe, there are other characteristics of Dolphin’s sound that play a part within the album. 90’s alt-rock, singer-songwriter and baroque music seem to intertwine at various instances. It’s as if the musical traits of Alanis Morrissette, Regina Spektor and The Decemberists got all blended together with some piano keys. This is a really good thing to be affiliated with, but the vibrato of Dolphin’s voice is what sets her apart. The way she sings is how she achieves her own musical identity and it’s how this record leaves a lasting impression.
Ferguson’s bass is slightly noticeable in the background of “Too Deep” but it serves as an important foundation with Maggiacomo’s electric as the keys roll along. The harmonies have a heartfest tone that gets the lyrics across in a forceful way but not at the level where it’s too intense. “In The Dark” has the saxophone coming in and it adds a nice element to the ballad. Catchy on a minor level, “I Don’t Think About You Anymore” is a genuinely great heartbreak song. Listening to the lyrics gives a vivid picture of being alone in a room with only one person on the singer’s mind.
Dolphin just rang in the unveiling of Lion-Hearted Blood at Askew located on 150 Chestnut Street in Providence on the same night as the album’s release date. As of press time, she doesn’t have any further shows announced. While waiting for the next time she’s taking the stage, check out her publication Wizards In Space Magazine at wizardsinspacemag.com. To purchase and stream the new album, log on to Pitch & Prose’s Bandcamp page at pitchandprose.bandcamp.com. To keep tabs on everything else Dolphin has going on, log on to her website at oliviadolphin.com.
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