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May 13th, 2009
Olive Street Band delicate, but catchy

By SARAH STEVENS
Scene Reporter

The Olive Street Band, with its classically catchy and yet completely new and original style, formed almost serendipitously here in San Marcos in 2008.

Lindsey James Belk is the guitar player, singer and song-writing mastermind behind their songs. Kyle Mylius covers the meandering, melodic and at times almost classical piano accompaniment. Pete Apostola takes the bass and occasional trombone, and Jason Wilkinson backs the whole thing up on the drums.

Sets by Olive Street run the gambit, musically, from jazzy down tempo pieces to more upbeat numbers with something of a western hoe-down feel. The variety of influences that each band member brings to the table are subtly apparent in all of their songs. The final product is a tapestry of sound that leaves a lingering impression of delicate cascading and poetic lyrics over the low-key, intimate guitar and bass that forms their generally laid-back vibe.

The Olive Street Band formed, as they put it, coincidentally.

“I met Lindsey over at the Coffee Pot,” Wilkinson said. “I sat in and played music with him one night, and I decided it was a good idea to keep playing music. A few months down the road I needed some roommates and started putting people together, and Kyle, Lindsey and I were living in the house and we started a band.”

The band’s name is a nod to the fact that the members of the band were roommates who lived along Olive Street.

“We all started as roommates and from there we were like, hey, we all play music. Let’s play together,” said Belk.

Said Mylius, “Before we were roommates. Lindsey was this really skinny kid that looked like hadn’t eaten for four days. When he moved to town, he was playing guitar for free salads from Suzie’s Vegetarian Food. He came in looking for a job and he was so sad-looking I had to hire him. I gave him a job and we were sitting around at an employee meeting and Adam [Kreft] was playing the guitar. Lindsey asked to play a song, and took out a guitar and played one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard.”

Pete Apostola is the most recent addition to the Olive Street Band.

“I had moved here in September from a little city outside of Philadelphia called Reading,” Apostola said. “We did a gig, I had found an ad up on a website, which I think is the first time that’s worked for anything ever. I drove down to San Marcos, and I loved it. I never looked back. I was a funk trombonist in the Philadelphia music scene. I haven’t had much of a chance to play that with Olive Street but there will be songs with trombone.”

Lyrically, Lindsey James Belk is very poetic and expressive in his writing style.

“I write the foundations of the songs,” Belk said. “It’s very minimalist. I write the words and the general structure, I introduce it to the gentlemen, and generally it’s almost night and day. The way that I originally wrote it and after it’s composed with the rest of the band; it’s almost a different song. It’s almost a miracle because they fill in all the things that I couldn’t figure out how to express.”

“What I write about is very personal, but I don’t use names very often. I have in a song or two but I don’t use names because I want the audience to be able to hear it and apply their own perspectives to that song. In a sense I want them to hear what I’m saying and to recognize that this person is going through the same thing that I’ve gone through. All of our problems are universal. The resolutions that I come to in the song are very open. I try not to make them too blunt so that my solutions would be applicable to someone else’s problem.”

If there was a message that the members of Olive Street would want their fans to leave the show with, it would be one of shared experiences and inspiration.

“I’d like someone to feel the way about us that we felt the first time we saw someone like Dan Burn or Brian Adams,” Apostola said. “It’s not the same kind of garbage that they’d see on MTV. If I ever heard someone really incredible the first thing I’d do is drive home and practice, or if I’m in an art gallery and I see something that completely knocks me out, the I go home and start painting. I think that would be cool, just to fire up somebody else.”

The band is working on an album, starting with five songs already in the can that will be released as EP when they are mixed and mastered. Once the EP is out, the band will work on the second half of the album, hoping to have it out before the end of summer.

The Olive Street Band will play next on June 5 at the Thunderbird Coffee House in Austin. To check out more upcoming shows or listen to some songs, visit www.myspace.com/olivestreetrecords.

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0 thoughts on “Olive Street Band delicate, but catchy

  1. Ha Ha.. I read Dan Bern and Brian Adams, then I read it again.. and I realized that it should have been Ryan Adams. Came down here to correct it, but Wheatstraw got to it first.

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