Al Olender

There’s nothing scarier than being honest with yourself. For singer/songwriter Al Olender, facingher fear of the truth has been a cleansing, often cathartic process that’s led to the kind ofrevelations she had previously thought unobtainable. On her debut full-length album Easy Crier,the Upstate New York based artist asks: what happens if we vow to never tell a lie, ever again?Charting the daunting territories of staring your demons right in the face and prodding at theugly parts of your reflection, Olender pieces together her most vulnerable moments to produce acelebratory and beautiful rumination on grief, and reminds us of the power that comes in reallygetting to know yourself.The catalyst for this renewed outlook stems from the sudden loss of her older brother. As ahuge supporter of Olender’s musical talents from the very beginning, he would often invite hisfriends over and encourage a then-teenage Olender to play her “angsty love songs” for them.“Everything that I do musically revolves around my brother,” she says. “It's like every single thingI do in my life – my brother is so much in the front of my mind.”The introduction for Easy Crier comes with “All I Do Is Watch TV,” a darkly humorous commenton the unmoored early stages of losing a loved one, way too soon. “I read a book on grief, it toldme to lay in bed,” she laments over a chromatic, repetitive melody – the kind that perfectlymimics an untethered, sped-up montage-like existence, as she watches true crime and buys aBig Gulp just to spill it on her bedroom floor. Here, she jabs at the numbness protecting herheart. “Nothing fixes grief,” she explains. “It transforms. Sometimes it's like a giant gloomingthunder cloud and sometimes it's like a tiny little raindrop.”On the folky, pop-infused banger “Keith,” Olender confronts her sorrow, as fond memories areabruptly interrupted by a crashing cymbal and animated percussion: an ever-increasing heartrate capturing Olender’s inner-chaos as she witnesses a well-meaning funeral guest showing offa new tattoo. Later, on the devastatingly gorgeous closer “Mean,” a sparse, acousticarrangement offers a platform for a rousing vocal performance, each note a grief-strickenconsolation. “I’m older than my older brother, but I’m not old enough,” she shares softly,searching for someone to keep her safe. Olender strives to use her voice for connection andhealing, for herself and for anyone else who’s listening.Olender recorded at The Church in Harlemville, NY, entrusting the skills of producer andengineer James Felice (Felice Brothers). Felice also lent his skills on keyboard, accordion andpiano, with Jesske Hume (bass/synths), William Lawrence (drums/guitar), Ian Felice (guitar),and Alejandro Leon (bass) also contributing. The album’s sonic universe sees delicate keysdance alongside acoustic plucks, later welcoming brooding strings and lush, expansiveharmonies. It’s these kinds of arrangements that perfectly capture the sonic personality of EasyCrier: it’s both tender and invigorating, soothing yet anthemic. Describing the arrangements as a“conversation with friends,” it’s a testament to what can happen when you surround yourself withthose who totally, and willingly, understand your artistic vision.

Easy Crier isn’t an album about death. It’s an album about unending love. It wipes away themask we put on for others and instead, embraces the exhale that comes from spilling your guts.It’s the moment in your favorite rom-com when they finally admit their feelings for one another,and kiss in a way that only seems to happen in movies; on Easy Crier, Olender plays both parts.There are moments of ease, and exploring the often fine line between funny and sad that makesEasy Crier a portal for relief, whether that’s through tears of joy or pain. It’s an album that takeseach shattered, heartbroken piece and puts them back together to form a strangely beautifulmosaic. “It’s a love letter to everything I’ve lost,” she says. “And forms a real insight into howtelling the truth has truly changed my life.” Here, Olender is finally letting herself feel everythingall at once, no matter how uncomfortable or scary it can be.


Al Olender, Jules Olson, Van Vreeland 8:00 PM | Doors: 7:00 PM
361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
All Ages
Tickets $12.00