Oliver Pigott. He is all at once a powerful singer, timeless songwriter and magnetic, explosive performer...What most people recognize instantly is the kid´s astounding lyrical abilities. As one admirer from Los Angeles explained, ´´It´s almost as if Oliver has spent his young life on a train and seen the world in all its joy, pain, benevolence, cruelty and social injustice.´´ The tunes, too, speak of a world-weary soul, resulting in a wonderful melodic mix of blues, country, folk and rock ´n´ roll...In the words of one devoted Pigott concertgoer, ´´Oliver picks up that guitar and steps up to the microphone like he´s coming home. I´ve seen him so many times because he´s twenty feet tall onstage and I can´t look away.´´
By now, you, my faithful readers, are all familiar with my Pigott fixation. After being introduced to the brothers from Toronto via Canadian Idol this past Spring, I followed them through their unfortunately brief stints on Idol, and since then, I've done some Internet research (read: cyberstalking) to find out as much as I can about Oliver and his younger sibling, Sebastian. Consquently, my Blog has been lively this summer with my Pigott chatter, even long after they were both sent home from the Idol stage.
Thanks to this new-age world of technology and that fabulous site cdbaby.com, one of my greatest "finds" was the downloadable version of Oliver Pigott's album, Year of the Pig. For the past month, I've been listening to it almost incessantly, and falling in love with each song over and over again.
It's somewhat difficult to describe Oliver. From the different websites and biographies I've read about him, apparently others have had trouble boxing him in to one genre of music as well. His music has been labelled everything from pop to folk rock, from folk to acoustic rock, from rootsy blues to soul.
Rather than try to pigeon-hole Ollie into one of those categories, I'll simply tell you this: His voice is like a warm, rich cup of coffee. When I hear the deep, rasping timbres of his voice, it soothes me and compels me to listen. And from listening, I've been privy to some of the most beautiful lyrics and masterful storytelling I've ever heard in music.
The album kicks off with his signature track "Our Generation", a passionate, politically-charged promise to our elders that, while they may believe us to be a bunch of lazy asses, we're actually just lying in wait for them to all step down so we can take charge and clean up their messes. The opening verse of the song is as follows:
Out by still waters, your sons and your daughters -
Forgotten although we may be -
Have seen what you've done to the world that you've run,
To the things that you choose not see.
On the fateful day that you all step down
And we take your places,
Then the love you lost will be finally found
In a billion faces.
"Our Generation" might be the most radio-ready song that Oliver has in his compilation, and it makes me proud to be who I am, and from this generation. It's like a rallying cry for us to be ready to stand up and fight for what we believe in when that day comes.
The other most mainstream tune is "Rich & Loaded", probably the closest he comes to all out rock & roll, with the catchy chorus that has had me singing along: "Rich and loaded livin' on the corner, This is how we all get high!" It's grittier, and conjures images of Ollie and his friends hanging out on a street corner, playing music and having a blast.
Then we have what I consider the two dark, bluesy offerings, "Shed My Sin" and "Let Your Devil Die", both dealing in subject matter with battling your demons and searching for fresh beginnings, leaving pain and suffering behind. With Ollie's rich, dark voice seemingly coming from deep inside him, almost guttural at times, along with the simple but effective accompaniment of his talented acoustic guitar playing, both of these songs take on lives of their own.
On the softer, gentler side of Oliver, we've got "Still on Your Mind", a heart-wrenching song in which he seems to be speaking to a former lover who has left him behind for a better life, and he's consoled by the fact that she can't get him out of her thoughts. There's also "Best Drink I Ever Had", a toast to the past and a wish for the future, in which he sings, So pour me the best drink I've ever had; Here's to the life I just left behind. As with all of his songs, the poignant lyrics resonate, and I find myself thinking about them long after the song is over.
Back into the up-tempo selections, there is "Anna Turn It Up", which always has me singing along - memorable for its simplicity and how easily the words get stuck in your head. We also have "American Miracle", which takes on an edgy tone as he tells the story of falling in love with a beauty from the U.S. And another highlight from the CD is "Storm Brewing", with yet another catchy chorus: Storm brewin', let me in. I am sickly, pale & thin, Mama. Don't leave me alone outside, in the cellar let me hide, Mama. From the videos I've seen on Youtube, this has become a staple in the Oliver & Sebastian Show (which they're taking on the road out West this fall), with Ollie letting his little brother join in and making it a bit of an on-stage duel between the two siblings.
Last, but certainly not least, is the song "Follow That Car". After my initial speed-listen to the record (when I quickly jump through every song and listen to only the first 30 seconds or so), this was the song that grabbed me and took hold of me more than any other. It's just Ollie & his guitar again in a one-sided conversation, with him begging a cab driver to follow the car carrying a girl he just had a argument with. He wants to catch up to her so he can apologize and make things right before it's too late. It's a song that paints a vivid picture, and he really pours his heart out. I can tell you one thing - I'd certainly love to be the girl he's chasing. Usually, after repeatedly listening to a song as much as I've listened to this one, I eventually get sick of it and move on. That hasn't happened yet with "Follow That Car".
After Oliver's father, a blues harmonica player, passed away when he was a kid, his family moved to Portugal, where he sang and played in bars with his brother. In his teen years, he returned to Toronto, continuing his music with his band Laughing Sam's Dice. As an adult, he's lived in both LA and England, developing a fan base worldwide and getting his name and music out there.
Now, following his Canadian Idol fame, along with Sebastian's, Oliver's star continues to rise. As I mentioned before, they will be touring out West in the weeks to come, promoting their individual musical tendencies as a united front. There's no doubt in my mind that with Oliver's already-strong fanbase that he's only going to gain more recognition,and before long, he'll be a famed entertainer that this country can be proud of. I can't wait to see how far this guy can go.
I'm predicting big things. Very big things.
Oh, and on one final note - there seems to be a bit of a battle going on with Ollie's fans on-line. Some are fighting for him to "bring back the 'fro", which apparently was his trademark before taking to the Canadian Idol stage. I, however, became a fan of his when he was sporting the close-cropped look, so if anyone ever asks: I'm against the 'fro!!! ;)
Still a pretty good-lookin' dude, though, if I do say so myself...