Olivia Reardon's sound could be called a mix of Erykah Badu soul and the gospel-tinged blues of The Black Crowes. "Jazzy, funky, r&b, rock, blues, country," she calls it.
A native Ohioan, Reardon says of her roots, "Our family wasn't rich, but music was always around to help guide us along." Surrounded by music and strong female voices, she learned young that music "brings joy and happiness. [Providing] a way to heal, distract and keep going." And she's paying it forward: "I hope I'm teaching that to my little boy, Dillon."
Cutting her teeth in the Irish Catholic church choir and community theater, Reardon eventually performed in a successful 8-piece funk band. "We had gone as far as we could go." Encouraged by friends, Reardon left Ohio for Los Angeles. She tended bar and waited tables. One place, the tiny jazz-blues club The Baked Potato, kicked ass. The star-rich jam nights drew rock stars, jazz greats and movie greats—from Guns N' Roses to Ike Turner to Chick Corea to Bruce Willis.
Gunner Slash invited Reardon to sit in with his Guns N' Roses' bandmates—Gilby Clarke, Matt Sorum, Duff McKaGan, Dizzy Reed—at various venues. Which then led further gigs. This went on for a decade until Reardon moved to Tucson. "I moved here for family. I had my son, Dillon, and wrote some killer kids tunes during his early years. He is seven now ... so it's easier [for me] to go out and perform."
Reardon's current band is called Miss Olivia, a name given her by Clarke.
This generation of Miss Olivia, consists of David Hostetler on bass, Mike Sydlowski on guitar, Daniel Thomas plays drums and Samuel Hess on keyboards and sax form the core. Guitarist Chris Callahan and vocalist Emilie Marchand are occasional "interlopers." Prompting Hostetler to rechristen the band Miss Olivia and The Interlopers.
"Our band loves each other," Reardon says. "Hopefully you will feel that way too when you come out to our shows, like family."
Here Reardon shares her top 5 albums.
1. Aretha Franklin—I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You: This album! I can remember jamming this as a little girl. My mom and I would clean house listening to this and other great music of the late 60s and 70s.
2. Joni Mitchell—Court and Spark: Everyone loves Blue, of course. But Court and Spark was one of my first CDs. Loved it. Still do.
3. Jeff Buckley—Grace: This is a bible for me. He touches so much. His words actually touch your mind, your heart, your soul. He was a genius."
4. The Black Crowes—The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion: This is all church and blues, love, love, love this album! When I say church, I mean Southern Baptist. If you've never been to a service, you should. Gospel music, in my opinion, is the root of rock 'n' roll, blues, jazz, r&b, soul.
5. Erykah Badu—Live: This album is everything! It's pretty much perfect. It's live. And, she was preggers. So talented.
Miss Olivia will perform at Che's Lounge, 350 N. 4th Ave. Sunday March 19, 6 p.m.