Carla Olson

Have Harmony, Will Travel 2

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Carla Olson is an inarguably talented singer and songwriter, but even though she's made fine music on her own, much of her best and best-known work has been as a collaborator, either with her band the Textones, on her superb duo album with Gene Clark, So Rebellious a Lover, or contributing vocals and guitar to recordings by other artists. In 2013, Olson released a full album of collaborations with musicians she loves, Have Harmony, Will Travel, and seven years later, she's given us a sequel, Have Harmony, Will Travel 2. Seven of the tracks are original to this collection, while four were culled from previously released projects (in case you were wondering how Gene Clark managed to appear on an album first released in 2020). One of the most impressive things about this record is Olson's admirable lack of ego; while her vocals and guitar work here are typically strong, she's not afraid to let her guests take the lead, and on most of the original tracks, the performances aren't duets so much as Olson harmonizing with her guests as they take the vocal spotlight. That said, Olson's harmonies are in great shape, and she's brought along some top talent to sing with her, including Terry Reid (on the folk standard "Scarlet Ribbons"), Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit (singing Richie Furay's "A Child's Claim to Fame"), British Invasion icon Peter Noone (sounding great on the Byrds-ian "Goodbye My Love"), and Stephen McCarthy of the Long Ryders (bringing just the right amount of twang to "Timber, I'm Falling in Love"). The previously released material certainly is worthy of a second hearing as well, especially "Honest as Daylight" with Percy Sledge and "Del Gato" with Gene Clark. It's a bit curious that a performer would be so inconspicuous on their own LP, but if Carla Olson dodges the spotlight on Have Harmony, Will Travel 2, she certainly has delivered a fine album that's a delight for fans of Cosmic American Music of all stripes.

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