Monday Music Pick: Carla Olive

Wine-Ohs (811 1st St. S.W.)
Sunday, July 14, 8 p.m.
Cover charge: $10

Cowboys Dancehall (421 12 Ave. S.E.)
Thursday, July 18, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $10

Carla Olive’s ability to weave together meaningful lyrics and indelible melodies is matched only by her drive and work ethic.

“I’m a born songwriter and I’m not going to stop,” says the Calgary pop-rocker. “I’ve kind of determined that I’m always going to be working at it.”

Olive’s musical resume is a broad, sweeping tale that has taken her from the rigours of classical piano to the free flow of screaming hard-rock lead guitar, through acoustic singer-songwriter recordings and computerized-loop-supported solo shows to her current album, “Black Tie Affair.”

Released in March, the album — her fifth — is a showcase for Olive and a supporting cast of rock luminaries including producer Greg Godovitz, engineer Johnny Gasparic and musicians Russell Broom and Chris Rawlyck, among others.

Olive gives credit to Godovitz — who’s best known as leader of semi-legendary Canadian 1970s-’80s hard-rock trio Goddo — for helping to shape and focus the album’s 11 songs and its overall sound.

“We met a few years back, and he fell in love with my music as soon as he heard it,” Olive says of the transplanted Torontonian. “He was obviously my first choice to produce, because he’s been really encouraging, and it’s a great working relationship. He worked with my ideas; the final say was mine. You know, he was very cool about that.”

The album is a highly listenable package of pop- and jazz-influenced rock, with lyrics that are both heart-wrenching and clever. Sinuous lead guitar lines wind their way through layers of keyboards, bass, drums and Olive’s expressive voice. The songs are classic female-songwriter pop-rock fare, with echoes of Carole King, Chantal Kreviazuk, Rickie Lee Jones and Tori Amos.

Olive’s upcoming shows will feature songs from “Black Tie Affair” and some older material, played by the Carla Olive Trio, which includes drummer Colin Adhikary and bassist Stephen Shepard.

Raised on a farm outside Grande Prairie, Olive has made Calgary her home since she was 18. Her regular gig as host of a singer-songwriter open mic each Tuesday evening at Café Koi (100 - 1011 1st St. S.W.) gives her a front-row seat to the development of Calgary’s music scene.

“We’ve got some phenomenal talent. They come through the doors every Tuesday,” she says. “Calgary has changed in the last five years. We’ve come leaps and bounds in the arts, and I’m really proud to be called a Calgarian now. It’s amazing.”

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