[REVIEW] Olivia Jean In-Store | 10.14.14 at Grimey’s

OliviaJean-620

Olivia Jean
Grimey’s New and Preloved Music; Nashville, TN
October 14, 2014

Review by Jacqui Sahagian

Third Man Records session player and former frontwoman of The Black Belles Olivia Jean dropped her very first solo album, Bathtub Love Killings, with the label on Tuesday, and celebrated with a packed in-store performance at Grimey’s which included much of her new record as well as some revamped cuts from The Black Belles and a killer Halloween-appropriate cover of The Specials’ 1981 hit “Ghost Town.”

Read on for our full review of the talented lady’s performance.

Jean has been the subject of some unfortunate and gross misogynistic “controversy” from the Third Man and Jack White fan community and, after seeing this performance, we can tell you with even more certainty that Jean is indeed very talented and has a long musical career ahead of her both as a session player and a solo artist. Her confidence and stage presence were drastically improved from when I saw her play with The Black Belles at MI Fest in Michigan three years ago, which makes sense considering she’s spent those three years playing on a plethora of Third Man projects, including both of Jack White’s solo albums and records by Wanda Jackson and Karen Elson.

Dressed like a goth schoolgirl, Jean sang and played the lead guitar she’s lent to so many Third Man artists. She was backed by a foursome of nondescript-looking male musicians, the exact opposite of the goth witches she played with in the Belles. Jean’s still a better musician than she is a singer or frontwoman, but her voice got better as the performance went on. “Haunt Me” was the best song she and her band played from the new record, an alternative country tune that showed off her voice better than most of the other garage pop numbers.

She played some reworked Black Belles songs that sounded miles better than they did on the group’s self-titled 2011 album. “What Can I Do?” and “Not Tonight” both benefited from different arrangements and better musicians playing them. While the Belles were cute and I enjoyed both their witchy schtick and their record, the ladies backing Jean up never really formed a cohesive musical group. Another fun number was a song she said she’d written in high school and had never played live before, “Can You Help Me?,” which turned out to be a surprisingly cute poppy garage rock song.

The show was tempered with a sad note, as earlier in the day news broke that fellow Third Man session musician and keyboard player in Jack White’s band Ikey Owens had passed away while on tour with White in Mexico. Jean dedicated her performance to him and said that it was a sad day for Third Man.

That’s not to say everything was perfect, but Jean is new to being center stage. She seemed almost giddy that so many people packed into the record store to see her. In the middle of the set she stopped to change out of some inconvenient heels that prevented her from being able to hit her guitar pedals, but that along with her broad grins — which had “I can’t believe I’m actually dropping my solo album right now” written all over her face — were only charming.

The set ended with a rollicking cover of The Specials’ ska-punk “Ghost Town,” which fit Jean’s creepy aesthetics perfectly and allowed her and the band to show off a little. Olivia Jean’s rapid growth in the last few years shows a musician with a voracious appetite to learn. Haters aside (and seriously gross haters they are), Bathtub Love Killings won’t be the last we hear from Olivia Jean, but you should definitely give it a listen if you’re into vintage garage pop.

32 comments

  1. There are a lot of great songs on the album. My favorite is Haunt Me but I also really love Mistakes, Merry Widow and Proof. The arrangements and production are fantastic. Like when Haunt Me starts out as an old time record from back in time–how cool is that? It’s a great record. The one thing that shocks me so much is how misogynistic some of these so-called “fans” are. I do not get it at all. I thought music was supposed to be progressive and the music industry open to all artists but you read some of the things that are written and it seems like a lot of these “fans” truly despise women. I think she deserves even more credit for pushing forward with her shows and no doubt she will only grow as an artist. There is something very positive about adversity; it shows you what you are made of.

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  2. While I do respect the writer of this article likes her music and I don’t think it’s fair to slam a lot of the Third Man fans for the fact that most do not care for Ms. Jean’s music. I also don’t think that it’s fair to say that this is soley the opinion of “gross haters” as you put it. For the most part Olivia Jean did not receive good reviews in the cities she opened for Jack White. One of the reviews even said that the microphone stand had more personality than Olivia Jean. So this seems to be the opinion of most critics as well. I saw Olivia open for Jack in South Carolina. She was really bad. If this was any other opening act she would have been torn apart and booed off the stage. Fans were merely being polite in respect for Jack. You can definitely tell that her voice has been protooled or manipulated for the record because she sure does not sound like that live. The fact is she can not sing at all live. I totally respect the fact that you like her music but just because someone does not care for her music (as most Third Man fans do not) does not make those fans “gross haters”. I disagree with you that Olivia Jean will be around for long. I think her 15 minutes will very soon be up.

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  3. My first thought when I read this article was obviously Jacqui has not read or seen any of the reviews for Olivia Jean when she opened for Jack on his recent tour. They were not good. The kindest review said she was decent. So this is not just the opinion of what she refers to as misogynistic fans. How many artists who are at best decent are given record deals or allowed to open up for Grammy award winning artists? Her music is juvenile and mediocre at best. I saw several of the shows on Jack White’s recent Lazaretto tour including several of the shows where she opened for Jack. She is in no where near the league of the other opening acts for Jack. It was obvious in the audience she was merely being tolerated out of respect for Jack because they are friends. But is that what Olivia Jean or any other artist wants? Simply to be tolerated because you are friends with Jack White not because people actually like your music. At her level of playing she should be playing local bars in Detroit not being and opening act for a major music star or given a record deal.

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  4. Your opinion is absolutely cynical and completely abssured without definitions or directions!As any performing artists in the industry,she started her road performances without alot of confidence.As progression goes on and as her performances increase in quality,direction and overall texture..This performer is legit in all aspect’s of performing artistic definition’s! Being very versitile and able to incorperate textured harmony along with instramental ethic’s with different directional output;s she will definitley be around for awhile..The Third Mann fans may not agree with such a brash,over replicated personna that you have labled this artist’s potential to be! Just because it’s new too you,doesn’t mean it’s a bad or an undesireable productional effort..#2 Along with other’s,I truely believe she will be a considerable asset to the growth and direction of congealed quality, without being compramized by critiscism with cynical opinions such as yours!Get your head out of the sand dirty bird! LOL

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    • I’m really getting sick of people making excuses for this girl’s lack of talent. Do you think any other opening act for Jack White or any band that takes the public stage gets to make excuses that they were nervous to justify their terrible performances. If Olivia Jean is that nervous to be forming on stage she should not be on it. No excuse. She has had enough time to get comfortable with performing. She was as Third Man brags the “front woman” for the Black Bells. Any person who is the front woman for a previous band should have no case of the jitters taking the stage after that. And if she does she clearly should not have a record contract or be the opening act for a Grammy Award winning artist like Jack White. I saw Olivia Jean’s performances as Jack’s opening act and at Grimeys. The truth is is is just plain untalented. She has a terrible singing voice and this “multi talented” instrumentalist as she is touted to be can not play any of those instruments well. When she opened for Jack the audience was making fun of her. Some people even put their earplugs in and were listening to their ipods as she was playing. Most fans couldn’t wait for her to get off the stage. She is an absolute laughing stock amounst the fans. Not only were they making fun of her some were making fun of Jack for producing her. Which is sad because Jack used to be such a respected producer. At Grimeys I saw men pulling out their iphones and watching the games instead of listening to her. Most of the crowd at Grimeys looked bored to death and many including me wanted to leave halfway through her set but couldn’t be TMR very clevery blocked the exit with cameras and equipement so no one could leave until she was done. Pretty pathetic when you have to force an audience to listen to her. Even for her own record release party she was not the headling act. TMR had to pull in a bunch of other acts just to get people to buy tickets. And the truth is most people brought tickets to that in hopes of seeing Jack there. It was absolutely not to see her. Jack may reward Olivia Jean for opening up her legs to get a record contract but the fans will not. Maybe instead of being polite and tolerating her fans should boo her off the stage and throw tomatoes at her. Maybe then Jack and TMR will finally get the hint.

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      • It took you 9 days to think of a response.. Hell you can’t even spell Headline right!Do you get paid for such strong, hateful, and compramized ebonic spelling with no structured definition or fact other than sounding rejected over and over again…That’s a lot of anger your holding on to without substance or proven direction! Once again DO YOU GET PAID for such decomposing forms of speculation??????I never said anything about her being nervous dim-wit.I said she may of started off her 1st solo stand without a lot of confidence! Once again you dim-witt,You’ve obviously caught the short end of anything quality based in your existance,and I’m sure that anyone that has anything to do with a lesser lowered form of representation!Such as yourself:)P Probbably can’t stand you or your opinion.”Get out of the Tree and quit throwing your fecies”Monkey Boy!!!On the other hand It sounds like you LOVE Ms.Olivia Jean Markel :)P Admitt it punk!

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      • Why don;t you give the fans something they should $$$$$ for since you are such a Super Talent..Don’t forget something the general public should pay for :Monkey Boy! $$$$$$ We will be waiting,leave a link: _ _ _ +_ _ _+_ _ _ _ ???

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    • Your comment only proves why fans are suspect to the reasons Olivia Jean was given a record contract and only prove that she did not deserve one. Making excuses that she was nervous is totally unexceptable when people are paying money to see her as an opening act. If Jack wants to give her a record contract because she was playing hide the pickle with him while he was married to Karen Elson that is totally his business. But he should not require fans who pay good money for to sit and watch her as she attempts to learn her craft on stage and tries very unsuccessfully to sing. Her voice is incredibly flat. She almost sounds tone deaf live, her guitar skills have much to be desired and her songwriting is just really bad. After listening to Bathtub Love Killings and then seeing her play live as Jack’s opening act I have to agree with the majority of the Third Man fans that Olivia was definitely screwing someone at Third Man for this album to ever see the light of day. Even in some of the album reviews critics have even stated that if she didn’t have a “friendship” with Jack if she would even have a record contract and doubts any other record label would have given her one. Jack is not doing Olivia Jean any favors by forcing her onto his fans. All he is doing is opening her up to more ridicule and mockery.

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      • Paying money “for to sit” WHaaaaaaat does that mean?Is there a constant cloud of loss over your head?Did you really get passed High School on your own?Or did your mom and your smart sister do your homework for ya??And why were you at Grimey’s if you are so anti- Olivia anyway’s?Was it your job to be there? If so I need to put in an application there!!!They are obviously giving $ away!!Sort of like a Chili Pepper’s song:))

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        • The only one who seems to have a one sided opinion is you. You seem to attack anyone who dares to say they don’t like Olivia Jean’s music. I don’t like her music either. I don’t like the album and I sure as hell did not like her live.

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    • I disagree with you Mr. Michael. Your comment about how she started out with not a lot of confidence only confirms why Olivia Jean did not deserve the recording contract she was given it also shows that she truly is not ready for one either. She is a complete amateur. None of the other opening acts for Jack White came out and said they were nervous as an excuse for a lackluster and overall poor performance. Her music is mediocre at best. Even critics who reviewed Bath Tub Love Killings have said this and questioned whether she would have been given a recording contract if it wasn’t for her supposed relationship with Jack. The Black Bells never went anywhere for a reason. A big part of that reason would be their front woman Olivia Jean. Fact is most Third Man fans despise this girl. At the show I was at where she opened for Jack the fans in the pit were just waiting for Jack to come on and were very unhappy they had to endure Olivia Jean as the opening act. When she finished her set people started clapping and said she she’s finally getting off the stage. Most said if the pit was ticketed seating they would have skipped seeing her. People in the audience were making fun of her the entire time she was on. She just has no talent.

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  5. The Third Man community are misogynistic fans and haters? Do you think printing articles like this is actually winning this girl fans? No Country and Olivia Jean can kid themselves all they want but the comments regarding this girl’s talent have been completely just. Jacqui has not only not read or seen Olivia’s bad reviews from opening for Jack White on tour but she obviously has not seen the reviews for Bath Tub Love Killings either. The highest rating I saw it given was two stars. Every review said she does not have a good voice and can not sing. They also made comments in the reviews of her lack of musical skill and lack of guitar riffs on the songs. One critic even came out and said he thought she was only given a record contract with Third Man because of her alleged relationship or friendship with Jack White and seriously doubts she would have been given one otherwise. Most fans agree with that statement and felt there are many other musicians in the Third Man scene who deserved a record contract far more than this untalented girl. This is not soley the opinion of what you refer to as misogynistic fans..

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  6. Hey guys, where I found reviews about Olivia Jean’s opening acts?

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    • Here another review from Olivia’s performance. This guy didn’t seem to like her music or performance as much.

      https://stuffandsuch.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/review-olivia-jeans-record-release-show-at-grimeys/

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      • Creating “Soap Opera” or Jerry Springer accusation’s toward’s a quality performer’s contribution’s in this industry show’s the narrow blinded aspect’s and opinion’s based on here say and generated fictional definition’s.Reading comment’s and blog’s on other sites,I am finding that a lot of these comment’s or opinion’s are completely based on untruthful deception’s focused only on the opinion’s of jealous females or rejected male’s moving toward’s getting their 15 minutes on Springer, or TMZ..When people focus as a group on adolescent “Here Say” and state such hatred and lesser qualified opinion’s focusing soley on rumor’s and subjective statement’s as “I heard”,instead of focusing on a Musical performer’s Creativity,Skill,Direction and Value the to industry! This musical Artist is completely legit, and deserves not to be limited to such vile,childish and lesser qualified disrespectful comment’s and opinion’s with nothing to offer but “Here Say”Her character and skill’s, knowledge and contribution’s are impressive and respectful and should be considered!Before any Here Say contribution’s empower peeps on keyboards..Don’t consume yourself with low standard’s,or “here say”!When you focus on that,it say’s a lot about you:)P

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        • I really could care less if Olivia Jean did the nasty with Jack White or not. Even though it is popular opinion that she did and it was the reason she was given a recording contract with Third Man. I think that is what that Jordan guy also mentions in his article. He does not care if she put out for Jack White or not only the music she puts out. For you to refer to Olivia Jean as a skilled musician and artist is laughable. Olivia Jean can not sing to save her soul. She is absolutely no chanteuse as Third Man describes her to be. And it is absolutely hilarious that they describe her as a multi talented instrumentalist. Yes she they filmed her playing a lot of instruments but she does not play any of them well. She plays at the level of someone who is just learning to play those instruments. And then they wonder people are making fun of her. Unfortunately Jack has brought most of this mockery onto her by awarding a girl who clearly was not ready or deserving of a record contract.

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          • Hilarious hater’s shouldn’t contradic themselfs so much! This lady was already established as an artist before she was ever involved with 3rd Man..Now there ya go talking about what she deserves,when you haven’t a clue on a productional value level!Marketing strategies have definitely consumed your opinion! Your next move should be towards commenting on the next Jerry Springer episode,or whatever Soap Opera is on where your at…..Laughable is your 2cent’s on skill,ability,direction or market awareness and or opinion!!Silly Troll

        • Why is it anyone’s opinion that does not agree with yours is wrong? I also saw Olivia Jean perform live when she opened for Jack White. She was terrible. I’ve seen teenagers in high school battle of the bands that have more talent then she does. I’m not sure how or where she was an established musician before she started putting out for Jack White and breaking up his marriage. Sadly she is known to the fans more for being a home wrecker and a whore than she is know for her music. I think it’s laughable that you actually think this woman has talent because the majority of the people out there do not agree.

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          • JERRY JERRY JERRY JERRY JERRY JERRY “than she is KNOW for her music” Sweet child there is more than illigetimate,bass awkards tangles of cohersed brow beating,ear mugging and fictioned spreading hear say to praise in antiliticle skills in structured lyric’s,composing,performing and qualities including stability,marketing and delivering sets of harmony etc.Your 1 sided opinion is being delivered with “Everybody Thinks”and “I seen her open up for Jack”and “She’s a homewrecker”!and Battle of the High School Bands was better”Whoooooo play’s guitar in high school band competitions,and sings ockt.chorus at the same time….Where is this competition at CHILD?Do the bands and choruses write their own music note for note???And perform set lyric scripts while performing AT THE SAME TIME CHILD?????No quality definition’s in anything! You winner’s are not focusing on the point!And repeating the same stupid,over and over and over !Which is a reflection on the quality of Jerry Springer peeps that keep commenting!!Proper English Please!

        • I saw Olivia Jean open for Jack in Miami. After seeing her I totally understand why people are saying she got her record contract because she slept with Jack White. She is not a legitimate musician and her singing voice is extremely weak. I get from your posts you like her music which is fine. But you don’t seem to respect those who dislike her music and quite apparently that seems to out number the people who do. Someone below posted another review that said people were bored at her show at Grimeys , watching sports on their phones and couldn’t wait to get out of the place. I can tell you when she opened for Jack in Miami people were going for beer runs, listening to other music on their ipods and some people even had ear plugs in their ears. Everyone was happy when she finally got off the stage. I tried to give this album a chance. It’s terrible. I tried to have an open mind when I saw her live but she was even worse live then on her record. You need to respect other people’s opinions. They have the right to say they don’t like Olivia Jean’s music just as much as you have the right to say that you do.

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          • 1st of all,I’m only replying to peeps posting in the reply section of my opinion.2nd when individual’s attack character or performer’s definition’s,qualities,qualification’s,structures,contribution’s,direction’s and sum it up with overall “Here Say” unqualified attributes!I will go on a defensive pro-cro!I haven’t posted that anyone would have too like her music!But I’ve returned fire to those who seem to have the attention spand of bugs bouncing off light bulbs!Now if you don’t like or appreciate her music live or recorded ?That’s fine!!!But fallowing it up with such indignities with “Here Say”attributes is completely loose based opinion’s and unjust!!When Jack White created “Sea Of Cowards” I believe he got it right stating that people posting,judging and trying to control aspects and opinion’s,without Names,Qualification’s or even posting Anonymous as if we are being grouped together as cattle!I do respect opinion;s opposite of mine,I just don’t have to agree with them!And if other’s attack my opinion,posts etc.then maybe they are searching for more point’s of view than Moo’s Moo’s posting “Here Say”unqualified interests with hate and comprimized description’s and attributes…If you post on a public forum,be ready for other sides of opinion’s fictional and nonfictional!!I am not cattle!And will not be treated that way!Respectfully 🙂

          • And when you post something as simple as “People were putting their ear plugs in,or people were going o beer run’s”Don’t ya know that 3rd Man,Jack or Olivia are putting on a show Louder than usual act’s.And people going on “Beer Runs” alway’s go on Beer Run’s before the Headline performance starts?Anywhere!!And being so hard on,and pushing so hard on reviewing an artist’s breakout solo qualities,definition’s,description’s and contribution’s to the industry only show’s She has someones Attention?Now we all know live performances are never as good as studio tract’s in definition’s.And needless to say?Olivia’s performances may not of agreed with all expectation’s?She is in my opinion a quality artist or performer,with proven and legitimate structure!Those of you judging quality and character,morals or ethic’s in the beginning of set scheduled presentation’s need to back up your opinion’s or posts with some quality based definition’s without compramized structure:)Respectfully

          • You know what,I disagree with the statement I made in regard’s to Live performances don’t hold the quality that studio tracks do!1st I disagree with you completely disagree with you on the Olivia Jean topic.But her live performances have definitely improved since she started her recent set’s.And peeps expecting studio version’s out of live performances are definitely selling themselves short,in so many way’s!2nd Some of the highest rated studio performances are designed by live qualities and definition’s structured with harmony!My point is,if it’s new and unfamiliar to you?Doesn’t mean it’s Bad or unacceptable ! It just means you don’t like it! And that’s fine!Just be respectable on or in a public forum:)

  7. Mr. Michael is Olivia Jean. I got it from a reliable source. This is kinda pathetic. Wow.

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    • And the “Hits Just Keep On” from gutter troll “THEMANWITHYOURNUMBER”! Can’t you create something REAL,like maybe a real name??Attacking and making accusation’s like I am Olivia and I’m pathetic!Are completely and absolutely Un Just and not True!!Let me ask a winner like you a question?When you cruz web site after web site (considering your a Gutter Troll)do you ask and make stupid revolting and pathetic statements as ANONYMOUS??So no one can find or reply to the real person over that key board your sitting in front of?And having so much time on your hands?Do you ever think of maybe developing or improving your Misery?Instead of imposing or delivering such a waste of time and space??Your reliable source has to be your right hand talking to your left hand and so on,and so on!This is what’s reliable troll! I OWN YOUR PATHETIC WOW SELF!!!!And hopefully 1 day you’ll grow up and have a legit cause in life,with some sort of clear quality direction with purpose!!But right now I OWN YOU!!!!!!!!!!!Gutter Troll,Anonymous,Alias keep posting

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      • I’m just playing, Olivia. You know I love you.

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        • There is a Homosexual chat room waiting for ya somewhere:)Get to it!I’m not gay or a gutter troll or Olivia!

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        • Well at least no peeps fallowed you off that cliff,LOL:)PS thanks for the Compliment of considering “me” of all people Ms.Olivia Jean Markel !! Impressive to considered 🙂

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          • Markel? Is that your real last name?

        • LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL:)

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        • SPAM TRAP LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL:)

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