Kristina Olsen is one of the most entertaining and compelling performers on the international acoustic circuit. A superb multi-instrumentalist (acoustic guitar, steel-body slide guitar, saxophone, concertina, banjo, mandolin and piano) as well as an award-winning songwriter with a big bluesy voice, Kristina has audiences around the world coming back for more. Her mix of powerful songs ranging from sassy bottleneck blues to lilting ballads to swing jazz to raunch and roll (as well as her hilarious storytelling) makes for a diverse and satisfying musical experience, on stage, on disc and in book.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Haight-Ashbury during the 1960’s, Kristina’s approach to music and life was formed by that environment of vital cultural expression, social activism and diverse musical influences. She now calls Venice Beach, Los Angeles home but rarely sees it from touring ten months a year.
With eleven recordings under her belt (four on the Philo/Rounder label), and an enhanced eBook with music, (They Paid Us in Tub Time), 2014 sees the release of ‘Chemistry’ a live in studio recording with guitar wizard Pete Snell. Pete toured the United States and Europe for over five years with Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, and has played with such artists as Annie Lennox, T Bone Burnett, Macy Gray, Ricki Lee Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, Lou Reed, and many others.
Olsen’s songs have been covered by such respected artists as; Eric Bibb, Fairport Convention, Maddy Prior, Mary Coughlan and Mollie O’Brien. Olsen has also worked as a session musician on numerous artist’s albums including playing the hammered dulcimer on Michelle Shocked’s album ‘Short Sharp Shocked’ on PolyGram and touring as Mary Coughlan’s guitarist in 2005. Her song “In Your Darkened Room” was used in the film “We’ll Always Have Dingle”, a documentary about an Irish Film Festival. Olsen has performed as a multi-instrumentalist in plays for the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles’ Music Center. Olsen won the Kerrville Song writing award her song for battered women, ‘I’m Keeping This Life of Mine’
Olsen is the modern day troubadour, touring up to ten months a year. She regularly tours to Australia, Scotland, England, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. In more exotic locations, she has performed concerts in, Bangladesh, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia and once caught a snow-mobile drawn sled over a frozen lake to a concert in Aleknagik, Alaska. Olsen has been part of a songwriters’ group for over three decades and has taught songwriting, slide guitar and dance for musicians at adult music camps from Alaska to NYC to the UK to Australia for over a twenty years. Olsen is a frequent contributor to Acoustic Guitar magazine, writing articles on guitar and performance technique.
Kristina Olsen on Radio Venice
Radio Venice S04.E02 – September 18, 2016