Hans Olson

Hans Olson - Other Sides

Hans Olson resembles in many ways one who seems to be an idol of his : Bob Dylan. He plays guitar and harp in a rack, sings well thought out lyrics and veers towards folk-rock…
One point where the two differ, and that's one of the interesting points for us is in the way they integrate the harmonica into their music. The first few seconds of ‘Deal it out’, the opening number of his latest release under the French Willing Productions label will be convincing enough : a quick and well mastered riff, a powerful sound, a deep vibrato : here is a man who knows, understands and masters the harmonica vocabulary and uses it accordingly.

Through Hans' music one can hear the influence of Dylan and other american songsters, in the style of the songs, the lyrics and the instrumentation. Nonetheless, Hans Olson gives this laudable tradition a modern twist through titles ranging from country-folk (Where did it go) to more unusual pieces like ‘The Jester’ that one could define as Reggae-Folk or the funky ‘Voodoo Promenade’ that features a rocking ‘funk-blues’ harp solo.

Let's talk about the harp : this is not a harp player's album, not anymore than it is a guitar player's album. Hans is someone who knows how to play and uses the harp to enhance his songs. The Olson style is simple and well mastered. He uses essentially holes 1-6 in second position and has a mainly rythmic approach. Don't think that it isn't impressive though... At times his playing may remind of Sonny Terry, but generally his style is his own.

I'm usually not a big folk fan, but I have to admit that I was seduced by this album. Don't buy it just for the harp, buy it for the music. The way Olson uses the harp in that musical context is impressive in itself...

Benoît Felten

Purchase Information :

By mail at

17, rue Valentin
31400 Toulouse - FRANCE

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