Sunday, 3 July, 2011 8:46 PM
CMA New Artist Spotlight: 'Troy
by Kristin Barlowe
country music artist Troy Olsen
2011 CMA Close Up News Service
to know that there’s still room for young artists whose music
takes us to a specific time and place without sacrificing its appeal
to the broad base of listeners.
Troy Olsen, for example.
His self-titled and self-produced debut EP, with co-producers and
co-writers Brett Beavers and Jim Beavers joining him on “Tumbleweed,”
has an epic regional feel reminiscent of Dwight Yoakam or Marty
Robbins. Brushes stir a gentle but restless snare rhythm on the
debut single, “Summer Thing,” written by Olsen, Ben
Hayslip and Jimmy Yeary, with lyrics that recall a seasonal idyll.
There’s a dose of Glen Campbell too, in the yearning of Olsen’s
vocal and chords that roll like freight down tracks on “Ghost
Town Train,” which Olsen penned with Marv Green.
The vistas conjured in
Olsen’s songs recall his early years in Duncan, a tiny Arizona
town near the New Mexico border. He spent a lot of time there with
his grandparents; though their home had no electricity, the music
beckoned to Olsen through a battery-powered radio and images from
The Nashville Network flickering through a TV hooked up to a cigarette
lighter in a truck. Inspired, he got himself a guitar, taught himself
to play, wrote songs modeled initially on the work of Yoakam and
Steve Earle and began recording demos on his Walkman.
He started performing
while in high school, picking up enough work to lead him to seek
greener pastures in Nashville. Arriving in 2002, Olsen made the
right connections, eventually co-writing Blake Shelton’s “I’ll
Just Hold On” and “Ghost Town Train,” which Tim
McGraw recorded for Southern Voice.
The final, essential
step came in late 2009, when Olsen showcased six original songs
and walked home with a deal as the first artist signed to EMI Records
Nashville. Judging from the evocative content and material packed
onto Troy Olsen, his future is clearer even than the sky stretched
wide over those mesas back home.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
SECRETLY LOVE TO COVER
“‘Watching the Wheels,’ by John Lennon.”
DREAM DUET PARTNER
“At a livestock auction. It went really bad. I forgot the
words to most of the songs because I was so nervous.”
TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY
“The Eternal Optimist.”
BOOK ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND
“Into the Wild.”
On the Web: www.TroyOlsen.com
is Detroit's exclusive media outlet for this syndicated weekly column!