Ollie Brown has already won Australia’s Best Busker competition with ‘Bedford Avenue’, supported Thirsty Merc frontman Rai Thistlethwayte, and been announced in the line-up for this years Bluesfest, yet you may not have even heard of this folk rocker.
I caught Ollie Brown at the Oxford Art Factory last week supporting The Firetree and the 21 year old Novocastrian really impressed me. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a backup guitarist/keyboardist (apparently called Kurt), Ollie Brown delivers a pretty awesome live performance.
Since listening to his tracks on his unearthed page, I have to say that the recordings (whilst still good) do not do his voice true justice, and hearing him live is something special. His voice is crystal clear, super smooth, and projects like nobody else I have heard – it instantly grabbed everyone’s attention at his gig at Oxford Art Factory. He just hits his notes perfectly and so sweetly every time, the chorus of ‘Bedford Avenue’ and ‘Midnight Call’ are especially inspiring.
Instrumentally, the acoustic guitars really support Ollie’s voice well and the inclusion of keyboards on some of his tracks help to mix things up. In fact Ollie Brown’s sound reminded me a lot of the acoustics on Evermore’s first album ‘Dreams’, and it did make me wonder if the song ‘These Dreams’, although a common theme of inspiration for musicians, was perhaps a bit of a shout out to the Melbourne based rockers.
Altogether Ollie Brown is perhaps best described as Australia’s answer to John Mayer – minus the bigotry and arrogance. The lyrics are well written, instrumentally solid and performed exceptionally well. Ollie Brown makes for a very entertaining and relaxing listen.
With Ollie Brown having already released his debut 8 track EP ‘Moving On’ which you can download at iTunes, and having been announced to play Bluesfest later this year, I’m sure his days of playing free gigs are definitely numbered.