After spending time backing up indie-music legend Will Oldham (under his guise of Bonnie “Prince” Billy), Angel Olsen has head out on the road, on her own. Her biggest question?
“I would like to do a questionnaire for all artists, to ask them what their favorite things are to buy at the gas station,” she said. “It seems like that’s all there is sometimes.”
Her first post-Oldham album, “Burn Your Fire for No Witness,” has gotten massive praise everywhere from Spin to NPR, with a writer for the latter calling the folk-rock LP one of their favorite records of 2014.
amNY caught up with Olsen in advance of her upcoming three-show stand in New York.
A Spin cover story, plaudits from NPR and nearly every other publication ?has it set in that this is your life now? Has it changed your relationship with the road and your audiences?
I’ve never really had an experience of being out on the road with my own band until very recently, so I don’t know. There’s still a lot of reflecting to do — I haven’t had time to take a step back and think about it, because I’ve just been trying to sound good and bring what the album brought in our live performance. I haven’t really had any down time.
What’s the biggest thing you took from your time with Oldham?
I learned to use my voice. I learned by blending well with someone else — and I know this is kind of audacious to say — by singing someone else’s songs, or participating in someone else’s style, it’s changed the way I see my own voice. It’s something that’s mine.
On “Hi-Five,” you sing, “Are you lonely too? So am I — hi-five!” If shared loneliness is an appropriate time for celebration, then is there ever a bad time for a high-five?
Maybe when someone makes a joke about someone dying? If someone’s not ready to make a joke about that, it’s not time. I’m pretty sensitive about stuff like that.
If you go:
Angel Olsen performs at Roulette on Saturday at 8 p.m., 509 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, 917-267-0363, sold out. She also performs Dec. 8 and 9 at Bowery Ballroom at 8 p.m., 6 Delancey St., 212-533-2111, $20.