“It’s clean here. We’re not used to that. We dirtied up our hotel room pretty well. Put up a tent in there. True story.” That’s what Grant Olsen of Gold Leaves had to say about Madison, Wisconsin, on the band’s recent stop at the High Noon Saloon on November 7th, 2011.
Seattleite Olsen lets a bevy of influences creep into the Gold Leaves sound – the gentle slow-dance sway of oldies, the twang of the south, the psychedelic corner of the 60s – all the while tying it together with his vocals. Clear but unpolished, Olsen sounds like a more world-weary Robin Pecknold.
A live setting really let the material on The Ornament flourish. While the album is solid, Olsen’s tour band really took to the material and gave it a warmth and the extra breath of life that only takes hold when a band is on stage. In a post-show listen, the album seemed a little fuller and the best songs even better, particularly “Cruel & Kind” and “Hard Feelings”.
In not pinning itself to any one influence, Gold Leaves achieves a natural sound that reminds us of everything and nothing all at once, and gives us an inadvertently intimate look at Olsen himself.