Fraser / Live music: Oly a man of few words – until he takes the stage
Oly is a man of few words, but get him on stage and powerful vocals and thoughtful lyrics lead audiences along an acoustic road through rock, folk and Americana.It is as simple as that.A self-proclaimed minimalist, the musician first struck a chord with the Grand County community in 1991. Having fallen in love with the area while out with family during the holidays, Oly came back out after high school, working as a lifty and skiing as much as he could. After he returned to his hometown in Minnesota for the summer he found he missed the area. So I came back and just stayed, he said.It wasn’t until after a Gnome Shoe Party that Oly found the inspiration to start playing guitar and writing songs. At the locally famous parties, a guy named Mouse and some friends who used to live in a house in Ice Box Estates would build a big jump, invite people over for some fun, jumping, and raised money to donate to charities like the local libraries.I was hitting it all day, Oly said, recalling that day. As a skilled jumper, he was pulling off heli-corkscrews and tail grabs, and said he just landed wrong. His knee gave out and needless to say he found a lot of time on his hands to rejuvenate a passion for music. That’s when he said he picked up the guitar and really started writing lyrics – songs about things like life, love, loss of love and friendship.Within two years, he started playing open mic nights at the Crooked Creek Saloon, after Sean Daniels surprised him and signed him up, and nowadays he is usually booked at several gigs a week during the busy seasons. Most of what Oly showcases on stage is his original work, also his favorites to play, and although he jokes he still doesn’t know what he wants to be, locals say the singer/songwriter is well on his way to musical greatness.The small-town character with a great sense of humor (also known as Eric Olson and who is rumored to be Huge in Germany lead singer Max Von Axberg) hails from outside Minneapolis. He started playing drums at age 11 and later traded in his drumsticks for a microphone.He lent what he discovered his voice to bands around the Great Lakes area, an experience that helped him develop a good sense of melody. After he moved to Colorado, Oly was the lead singer and songwriter for the band Tunnel6 and now lends his variable talents to a score of local and regional bands.Oly has been playing music up here as long as I can remember, said Ali Grayson, who organizes the musicians for Rocky Mountain Roastery’s Java Mic Nights (where Oly also plays every now and then).He currently is guitarist and vocalist for band Stereomaid and he has had the opportunity to record originals with Arnie J. Green (who used to host the Creek’s open mic nights), Courtie Barns and George Wagner and for Holly Would. Oly is also currently recording a new, all-original Stereomaid CD (due out this spring).He lists his influences as Bread, Pearl Jam, Billy Joel, the Beatles, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, The Guess Who, Jane’s Addiction and Simon & Garfunkel. Whether performing his originals solo or with a band Oly promises to take his audiences from sweet love songs to in-your-face rock without making any of it seem out of place. He hopes audiences come away from his shows with Something they can hold onto. When I listen to a song I want it to make me feel something, whether it be happy or sad – something I can relate to.
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