CALGARY – For Ben Plotnick and Kaitlyn Raitz, both classically trained, the move and exploration into folk, country and bluegrass equates to learning a new language. That they transplanted themselves from strict, academic environments in Montreal and Toronto and jumped into Nashville’s barrooms playing alongside three and four generations of deep country and bluegrass, that learning curve has a radical incline.
“There’s a lot of layers to Nashville. It’s the number one bachelorette party destination in the country,” laughs Plotnick. While Broadway St. is littered with musicians playing Top 40 keeping the party alive, that’s not the world he and Raitz associate with. Rather “there’s a really great bluegrass scene and a really amazing Americana song-writers scene” they’re involved with that includes not only real Southern blood but also educated Northerners that are bluegrass purists of a different sort.
“A lot of bars we like are dingy, hole-in-the-walls. There’s something about singing in those places that’s really intense. You can hear the experience and grit that never makes it onto records or top-end radio. That’s what we like to blend into our band.”
Drawing from parlour music and spirituals that they mix with rich country, folk and bluegrass, Oliver the Crow’s blend of Southern style is definitely refined, but with all the right kind of rough edges and sweet grit.Oliver the Crow