Karyn Oliver
talks about
by Johanna J. Bodde



talks about "Hurricane" (Self-Released)

Several years ago, while finishing my degree in something completely
unrelated, I was moved to write a song about a friend who was having
some personal problems. Before that I hadn’t written a song since I was
a kid, and after that I couldn’t stop. It turned out that I was not
alone in this insanity, and I was soon joined by bass player Bill
Patrick, guitarist Matt Lehr, and drummer Mark Ayers, and we started

My debut CD, “Hurricane” is finally finished, and has received some
really positive feedback, including a great review in Maverick Magazine.
I co-produced the record with Ty Ford, who also engineered and mixed the
CD. We worked on this record slowly, allowing it to evolve from the
simple demo recordings I did when I first wrote the songs, gradually
adding layers. We really tried to keep things as pure and simple as
possible, allowing the songs to be the star of the show.

“AMERICA”: the album opens to the sound of Deanna Bogart’s saxophone,
and Glen Workman’s organ sound. It sets up what I consider to be an
extremely mournful song. I wrote the song in the wake of hurricane
Katrina, because I was appalled at the fact that my country, the
“richest” country in the world, was failing to come to its own rescue.
It seemed quite obvious to me and many others that our government simply
did not care about these people because they had no money, and no
status. I’m sure I’m not the only artist to write a song about this, but
I wanted to make sure that mine would still make sense a decade from now.

“FLUTTERBY”: this came from something an ex-boyfriend’s mother said to
me. Turns out he was cheating on me, and she found out before I did,
which is more than slightly embarrassing. “She’s just a flutterby” were
the words she used to assure me that the “other girl” was just a passing
fancy. Of course, once I found out, that no longer mattered. David Zee
added some great keys to this one for me. Cheating on a songwriter is a
really bad idea, since you’ll probably end up in a song.

“NOTHING TO REMEMBER”: I wrote this song while driving alone on a back
country road. The windows open, a beautiful, but somehow lonely summer
night. I was really just trying to capture that feeling. The song
features David Zee again, this time playing the melodica.

“NO REST”: in the car again, but this time feeling a bit more frazzled.
I was fronting a rock band at the time, and trying to get my own music
off the ground, and still going to work every morning. The song reflects
the frustration of having to play all night and work all day. Every
musician knows what this is about.

“MORNING”: I dream a lot of songs, and many of them get lost because I
get up too fast and can’t remember them. That’s basically what the song
is about, and ironically, I dreamed this one and managed to hold onto
it. I sang this unaccompanied at the end of a session for another song,
and it never seemed to need more.

“HURRICANE”: we get a lot of hurricanes where I live, and every fall
people living in beach towns start boarding up their houses and cursing
the weather, as if the storms are “out to get them”. This
personification of the wind and the rain inspired the song, and gave me
what I think is an interesting perspective. This track features Martin
Wieringa of the band “Taneytown” on harmonica. When I play this song for
people, they often ask if it’s about me. Maybe it is.

“I'M STILL HERE”: everybody has times when they feel awkward, or out of
place. Sometimes I like to try to capture moods or emotions in songs,
instead of telling a straightforward story. I thought that the line
“There’s laughter when I leave the room” was the perfect way to start
such a song. Everyone can understand what that would feel like.

“ST. MARY'S”: this song gets a lot of widely varied feedback. Many
people have had similarly dark experiences, and the song moves them.
Other folks are put off by what they see as an attack on religion. I’ve
even seen them “crossing” themselves at the back of the room! But the
truth is, if anybody ever called me “inoffensive”, I’d be offended.

“THE RAIN”: I once spent a night in a hotel room with another
songwriter, his wife, and his girl singer. The two women hated each
other, and the tension that this situation created kept me up all night.
This song was written during fits of half-sleep, by the lights from the
parking lot.

“BAYNESVILLE”: my next door neighbor has lived in the same town his
entire life, and was always bugged by the fact that no one knew where it
was. This song is my attempt to immortalize that place for him. It has
become more special to me since his passing. David Zee is playing some
awesome keys again.

“(MISSING) COME BACK TO ME”: another mood driven song. I hesitate to
“explain” this one. Sometimes it’s better to allow the listener their
own interpretation. So many people have connected with this on a deeply
personal level that it feels like robbing them to define it by telling
you why I wrote it. Ron Goad added some killer percussion, and the
conversation between the drummers on this track and “The Rain” gets me
every time I listen to it.

“COLD WATER'S FIRE”: I wanted to express the feeling of trying, and
failing, to communicate with someone. I sang this as part of a recording
workshop Ty was giving, and something about it just worked. Maybe
someday I’ll do another version with accompaniment, maybe not.