It began as an informal folk-rock jam session at a bar on weekends, but Ollabelle evolved into a full-time entity at the beginning of this decade. After recording its organic, impressively collaborative debut on spec at a local studio, Ollabelle won over producer T-Bone Burnett, who was impressed enough to sign the group to his label. Click the link above to hear Ollabelle perform live in concert from WXPN and World Café Live in Philadelphia.
The New York band, named for Appalachian folksinger Ola Belle Reed, is a supergroup of sorts, featuring Levon Helm's daughter Amy Helm (vocals, mandola), Byron Isaacs (vocals, bass, dobro), Tony Leone (vocals, drums, percussion), Fiona McBain (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars) and Glenn Patscha (vocals, keyboards, accordion). Each member was a previously established artist in his or her own right, pursuing individual projects before Ollabelle took off. The group mixes gospel, blues, bluegrass and country seamlessly, sounding more polished than ever on its new CD, Before This Time.