Knitting Factory Presents

Al Olender, Jules Olson, Van Vreeland


Jul 8 Fri
Al Olender, Jules Olson, Van Vreeland8:00 PM | Doors: 7:00 PM
361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
All Ages
Tickets $12.00

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.

Jules Olson

Jules grew up in a small town located in upstate New York, just outside the city of Albany. Growing up, music was a huge part of her life, primarily taking the role of a constant safe space. She took piano lessons, studied flute in the high school band, and sang in choir, but mostly sang for her self outside of school. In her final year of High School her band teacher gifted her an acoustic guitar, which led her to fall in love with the instrument that would later be a vessel for her songwriting. She then studied at SUNY New Paltz, beginning her education there as a Music Therapy Major, and during her sophomore year, decided to pursue a degree in Jazz Performance. She had the opportunity to study with vocalists such as Machan Taylor, Teri Roiger, and Katie Martucci. In 2019 Jules began to perform and record her own music. Since then, she has won competitions sponsored by Pick Up Music, opened for artists like Pinegrove, Caleb Hawley, Joanna Teters, Sophie Marks, and The Big Takeover, as well as playing venues such as The Bitter End, The Colony, The Falcon, Rockwood Music Hall, and Daryl’s House Club.  

Jules began writing music at a very young age, sharing silly songs with her parents in the living room. In her early years, artists like John Mayer, Sara Bareilles, and Bon Over inspired her to write. In college, she was heavily inspired by her surrounding peers in the Jazz program, and took influence from artists such as Allen Stone, Stevie Wonder, and Lianne LaHavas. 

When March of 2020 came around and the pandemic hit, the world of live performance went dormant. Jules took this time to write, and really began to zero in on her unique sound. She released her first EP called “Travel Guide” on May 29th of 2020, reminiscent of Lianne LaHavas, Gillian Welch, and John Mayer’s “Room For Squares” era. The EP is directly inspired by Jules’ love of travel, the outdoors, and how those things have served as healing during hard times. Each song was written in a different part of the country, and touches on a new corner of Jules’ mind. After the summer of 2020, Jules moved to Bozeman, Montana. This gave her the space and solitude for new inspiration, and self discovery. She dove into classic country music, old folk, and indie rock. Here is where Jules really began to feel like herself as an artist for the first time, finding the ability to be gracefully honest and vulnerable through songwriting, and focusing on the art of language in song. Her unreleased work holds space for the listener to feel deeply and hopefully find healing through shared experience. With her talents for sweet vocals, soulful melodies, and honest melodies, Jules creates a beautifully emotional experience through every song.