Music Industry News Network [10-06-2017]

Single Review: Joe Olnick Band - "Downtown"


Joe Olnick is a groove guitarist out of Harrisburg, Pennslyvania. Olnick specializes in funk, ambient, jazz, and several other genres. He’s out with a brand new album called Downtown, featuring the titular track that I’ll be reviewing today! It is an instrumental album that focuses on the urban landscape Olnick has come to know as it grows around him, which has created a unique and fun sound that really made me love “Downtown”.

Olnick is a spectacular guitarist- and he’d have to be, in order to make his career work. He doesn’t disappoint and even as a person who is usually not the biggest fan of instrumental music, I didn’t find myself missing what’s usually my favorite part of a song. That’s impressive. No longing for clever lyrics or a pretty voice this time. I was more than happy to pay attention to the differing rhythms and experimentation that Olnick absolutely killed. “Downtown” is an experience that I’m glad to have had, if only to remind myself that it’s not all about the words.

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Usualy when I think of jazz, my mind goes straight to New Orleans- this is a typical reaction to have, and I was pleasantly surprised when, before even knowing the first thing about Olnick, I didn’t get that vibe at all. There’s something in “Downtown” that takes you exactly where he calls home. I’ve never given much thought to Harrisburg or Baltimore, and the most I think about Philadelphia is when I remember the Liberty Bell and that one FXX show. That’s why it was odd that I specifically jumped to that location. To Pennslyvania. Somehow, Olnick captured the spirit of his home and made it so identifiable that without any context I was able to pick up on his inspiration. That’s pretty cool.

The acompanying video isn’t anything special- it’s an admittedly amateur video showing a city. Nothing iconic, nothing instantly recognizable unless you live there. I think that’s part of the charm, honestly. It’s this place, set to the music. The camera work and editing don’t even match with the music. The video gives you a visual of what Olnick was picturing, what he lives in, when he was working on “Downtown” and I think that gives it a unique kind of magic, for some reason. It makes me feel like I belong somewhere I’ve never been to and have no plans of going to in the future (yet), and that’s cool. It’s easy to feel like an outsider, but this track makes me feel like I could maybe make a place for myself elewhere.

The music is fun, interesting, and full of surprises. You’re not quite sure what Olnick has up his sleeve next and it always proves to be a well done treat. It’s a song you can tap your feet to (or even dance to, if you’re braver and can get a hang of it). I had it on a loop for about an hour and never once got tired of it, so I think that should show just how much there is to take from “Downtown”. It’s cool and fresh- it does exactly what Olnick wanted it to. I think it’s a great song and would suggest it to anyone who needs a little groove in their life.



Victoria Patterson


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