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Angel Olsen w/ Erin Rae

Sat, Feb 4
8:00 pm - 11:59 pm
Admission starts at: $35
Asbury Hall at Babeville • 341 Delaware, Buffalo 14202

Description

Angel Olsen

Fresh grief, like fresh love, has a way of sharpening our vision and bringing on painful clarifications. No matter how temporary we know these states to be, the vulnerability and transformation they demand can overpower the strongest among us.

Then there are the rare, fertile moments when both occur, when mourning and limerence heighten, complicate and explain each other; the songs that comprise Angel Olsen’s Big Time were forged in such a whiplash.

“I can’t say that I’m sorry / when I don’t feel so wrong anymore,” the record begins, her voice softer and more open than ever, as if she’s singing through a hard won smile. “All the Good Times”, a twangy banger with nods to JJ Cale, starts the album on a triumphant and bright note. The title song, “Big Time”, follows and continues the warm optimism. “Guess I had to be losin’ to get here on time,” she sings, a fearless love song co-written with her partner.

Big Time is an album about the expansive power of new love, but this brightness and optimism is tempered by a profound and layered sense of loss. During Olsen’s process of coming to terms with her queerness and confronting the traumas that had been keeping her from fully accepting herself, she felt it was time to come out to her parents, a hurdle she’d been avoiding for some time.

Three days later, her father died; his funeral became the occasion for Olsen to introduce her partner to her family. Though she was fearful their presence as a newly out queer couple would be “an additional symbol of loss,” those days went peacefully, yet only two weeks later Olsen got the call that her mother was in the ER. Hospice came soon after, and a second funeral came quickly on the heels of the first. Another trip back to St. Louis, another grief to face, another deepening and intensification of this still-new love.

“You can’t plan grief, you can’t organize it or schedule it or know how you’ll feel when it comes. It just happens, and when it does sometimes it’s not what you thought it would be.” Three weeks after her mother’s funeral she was on a plane to Los Angeles to spend a month in Topanga Canyon, recording this incredibly wise and tender new album.

The burning of her earliest work is still here, of course, but this time she’s “freed from the longing / for one moment to last” and she’s ready to “walk through the fires / of all earthly desires.”

Erin Rae

Three years after the release of her critically acclaimed debut, Putting On Airs, Nashville-raised singer-songwriter Erin Rae shares an intimate, honest, and playful version of herself through her sophomore album Lighten Up. Produced by Jonathan Wilson, and recorded in the musically hallowed grounds of California’s Topanga Canyon, the album represents a sonic and inner shift for Rae. In it, she embraces more of her influences, like baroque-pop, cosmic country, and indie-folk songs while mirroring a more compassionate self-view she calls “accepting my humanness”.

With Lighten Up, Rae hopes to give listeners the opportunity to borrow what she’s learned, that there can be a lightness when things feel heavy and that even our darkest corners can allow us to shine.

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Angel Olsen w/ Erin Rae

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Angel Olsen w/ Erin Rae

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