Home Read Olivia Jean | Night Owl

Olivia Jean | Night Owl

The former Black Belles leader gives label boss Jack White a run for his money.


WHO IS SHE? The Detroit-born, Nashville-based singer-guitarist who has been part of Jack White’s Third Man Records label stable for nearly a decade — both fronting the all-female “garage-goth” outfit Black Belles and backing up artists such as White, Wanda Jackson and Karen Elson.

WHAT IS THIS? Her second solo album and the followup to 2014’s exquisitely titled Bathtub Love Killings, Night Owl is another Third Man release — but this time around, Jean not only wrote and played almost everything on the album, but also produced the sucker.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Garage-rock flecked with rockabilly, surf, indie-rock, country, girl-group pop and pretty much everything else you would expect from a Third Man release — and rendered with enough skill, style and smarts to give her boss a run for his money.


HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With unsuspecting friends who haven’t heard of her — but definitely need to.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Old-school, poppy, twangy, rootsy, searing, soulful, stylish, fuzzy, rambunctious, confident.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Garage Bat and Shut Your Mouth twang it up with rockabilly and surf grooves; In Two and Rhinestone showcase her searing guitar work; and her cover of The Flamin’ GrooviesBrushfire sounds more like Bobbie Gentry than its creators; and her version of the Indian rocker Jaan Pehechan Ho is a winner.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Say what you will, but you can’t call her one-dimensional. Or predictable.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? It has enough variety to keep you from tiring of it too fast.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A HAIRDO, WHAT KIND OF HAIRDO WOULD IT BE? A black beehive with a hot pink headband.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? You won’t regret it — but it won’t hurt you to try before you buy.