Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Midday Show Host Cheryl Waters, is “Long Time” by Betsy Olson from her self-released debut album Lonely Woman Blues.
Fans of KEXP’s specialty show The Roadhouse (Wednesdays 6:00pm-9:00pm) have no doubt heard of today’s artist. From the start, “Long Time” takes you back to another time with its traditional blues rifts and smooth, yet powerful vocals. Olson’s voice is perfectly suited for her brand of gritty, soulful, blues which often incorporates elements of Classic Rock (who can argue with a little Zeppelin and Hendrix thrown into the mix?).
Betsy is often accompanied by local drummer and vocalist in her own right Sera Cahoone and the two have toured together in support of Betsy’s album which came out last month. They recently played live on KEXP (11/4 if you’re searching the archives) and Betsy took a moment to fill us in on how the two started working together and what’s next for her.
You’re originally from Billings, Montana, right? What brought you to Seattle and when?
I’m from Billings and have been in Seattle for 8 years. I moved out here for the music scene-there are more opportunities (musically) here.
How did you and Sera meet and start playing together?
I’ve been friends with Sera for several years in Seattle and have always been a fan of her music. I was without a drummer for a show at the Tractor last winter, and Sera jumped in. We’ve been playing together since then. I think we complement each other really well. She’s a great drummer!
How do you approach songwriting? Are your songs pretty autobiographical?
My songs usually start with a guitar riff that I end up molding into a song. My lyrics aren’t necessarily autobiographical, but I certainly pull from different experiences I’ve had, people I’ve met and feelings I’ve had over the years.
What’s the story/inspiration behind today’s song “Long Time?”
“Long Time” kind of came out of nowhere. It’s the most recent song I’ve written. I tried to write the lyrics to match the bluesy, gritty and driving mood of the song. I had The Doors in my head when I wrote that one.
Where did you record this album? Anything special or challenging about the recording process?
I recorded with Jason Kardong (who also plays pedal steel for Cahoone and The Beautiful Confusion among others) and Brandon Busch at Soundhouse Recording here in Seattle. The recording went pretty smoothly because a lot of preparation had gone into it. The most challenging thing about it was getting everything down in a span of 5 days. That’s how long we had the studio booked. (I was on a self-released budget)
What’s next for you? Are you planning to do any touring in the near future?
I hope to line up a West Coast/Mountain West tour sometime in the spring… and of course, I’ll be working on some new songs!
Though she doesn’t have any shows currently scheduled, keep an eye on her MySpace page for future dates.
Here’s a video of Betsy and Sera performing Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” live from the KEXP studios: