I am not going to lie to you, or try for even a minute to lead you to believe I know Evan or Jessica personally. That would be a lie and a disservice. That doesn't mean I can't speak with at least reasonable surety about them through my own observations...right? I think so.
Evan OlsonI arrived in Greensboro as a transplant, moving here to take a position with a printing company as a warehouse manager (boy, those were the days...heh). The only person I knew in this whole town was the guy who hired me and honestly, I am having trouble remembering his name. It was May of 1994. As a musician, I was immediately curious about the local live music scene and started exploring within days of arriving. Among the names "on the street" back then was Evan Olson. And then came "Bus Stop" a few years later. The rest of Evan's story can be seen and heard on his web site and you can judge for yourself. What I can say, that to me is the most indicative of the man, is that over the years, every time I have seen him perform, he is energetic, entertaining, deceivingly talented (cause he makes it look easy) and finds a way to draw his audience in and let them help create the experience. That might be easy to do when you are standing on the stage of an arena and thousands of people have paid good money and traveled a long way to see YOU with high expectations, butin a club where the music is often treated as an after thought or background for sports TV's and pick-up lines over beer, well... THAT is note worthy to me. I have always seen a quality performance and witnessed a thoroughly engaged performer when I have seen Evan play. And that's what I have always said about him when his name would come up in conversation.
His new collaborator Jessica Mashburn, and we're not just talking music here, is a story unto herself. Again, I will not pretend that I have inside knowledge or the advantage of a close and active friendship, but I have had the chance a time or two to see her and converse with her. Enough I think to get a good feel for the person. You might not recognize her if you passed her on the street. Not to say that she is one you would avoid, but more that, if you had seen and met her at a performance your eyes would have been caught by some flashy clothes, colorful wigs, fanciful hats among other eclectic stage wear and so, you might not make the connection seeing her in "street attire" . The look works for her too! It demands your attention long enough to hear the voice, strong, sure, practiced and then you find yourself having not looked away for untold minutes. Jessica weaves songs together in tapestries, one upon another seemlessly filling the better part of a set this way. She sings and banters comfortably with an ever present smile, gifted to anyone who interacts with her.
Evan and Jessica often perform together now using the name "AM rOdeO". Though I have not heard this incarnation of their music, knowing and hearing what I have from both of them separately, I feel confident in saying that together they surely deliver quite show. They have found a "home" of late performing at "Print Works Bistro" in the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC. BUT, on Tuesday February 19th, 2013 You and I can BOTH have the pleasure of hearing and seeing them on stage at The Showcase of Original Music. Come see the show at The Creative Center. It's going to be another night of "firsts".