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Weekend music

Miss Olivia and the Interlopers find their voice

Musicians (and music fans) can get pretty opinionated on the subject of cover songs vs. original material but Tucson-based musician Olivia Reardon has a pretty straightforward take on the matter.

"Nobody ever says 'damn, can you believe they played Beethoven again.' Or Bach. People like Sharon Jones, Stevie Nicks, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Buckley,Jason Isbell and Erykah Baduh — these are our Beethovens and our Mozarts," she said. "These are the classics of our day. Why not perform them to the best of your ability, coming from your heart?"

Reardon's band, Miss Olivia and the Interlopers, evolved from the ashes of a full-on cover band, local Pink Floyd "super group" tribute project Atom Heart Mother. In addition to Reardon on lead vocals, the core band consists of bassist David Hostetler, guitarist Mike Sydloski and drummer Daniel Thomas with occasional guest appearances from "interlopers" such as former Atom Heart Mother alum Chris Callahan.

When Reardon came to Tucson from L.A. a few years back, the seasoned singer and performer was eager to find some musical partners in crime. She met future bandmate Hostetler through mutual friends but the project soon fizzled out.

"A few years later, when he [Hostetler] was rekindling Atom Heart Mother, he remembered me and auditioned me and it was just perfect. Atom Heart Mother was fricking amazing," she said.

While many tribute bands aim to play note-for-note replicas of their idols' tunes, Atom Heart Mother as a band was more like a master class in Pink Floyd, capturing the spirit, soul and technique of the psych/prog pioneers like a kind of album by album apprenticeship. The addition of Reardon to the band added a soulful authenticity to the project - especially on songs like the vocally gymnastic "Dark Side Of The Moon" track "Great Gig In The Sky."

After Atom Heart Mother's finale, the group members missed playing together and eventually the Interlopers were born. Their first gig was a simple set of covers at Saint Charles Tavern, where Reardon tends bar. It was almost done for a lark, but the audience loved the band and soon they were getting requests to book shows at other venues, including The Parish and Che's Lounge.

While strong vocals, bluesy rhythm and familiar tunes aren't necessarily hard to come by, the diversity of the Interlopers' cover choices - from country to funk to rock to soul - and the unique ebb and flow between Reardon's vocals and the dynamics of the band, marked the band as something special from the very start.

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Reardon and her bandmates attribute this diversity and depth as much to experience as they do to musical intuition. As veteran players, they have all spent years finding their signature sound and style.

"Finding your voice comes with growing up." said Reardon.

"When I was younger I tried to sing like a lot of people. Now I've learned to back off or come in strong depending on the meaning and feel and emotion of a song. You've got to give a song emotion. I've been singing forever and teaching forever and by now I think I know my capabilities and stay in my range," she said.

As experienced players, the Interlopers also know well what it takes to keep a band close and tight and in sync.

"We learn to prioritize over time. When we were younger opportunities might have slipped through our fingers. You have to prioritize and respect others. Put your time into a band - a band is a marriage of people, it can't be a selfish or singular thing," Reardon said.

As word spread and more and more venues began to book them, the band began to practice more and original songs began to weave their way into the mix.

The songwriting process for the band usually consists of one or two of the band numbers coming up with a part and working through it with the others, usually Reardon, Hostetler and Sydloski, with workhorse of a drummer Thomas adding a backbeat to the finalized songs.

While the band has been branching out into more original material, however, the Interlopers still love a well-placed cover tune. "David says we're like a good mix tape." Reardon said. "All your favorite B-sides with a few A-sides."

The band's tribute to Jane's Addiction was one of the high points of this past year's Great Cover Up, beginning with Reardon's tuneful heartwrenched high pitched melodic wail on deep track Jane's classic "Mountain Song" and concluding with burlesque floor show accompaniment by sometime Interloper Emilie Marchand aka "Lola Torch."

"The songs we chose for that set were challenging songs, not easy songs at all, but we loved them and they suited us perfectly. We've all done the Cover Up before but this year's show was super special."

Miss Olivia and the Interlopers hopes to put out a full-length album in the very near future. While the album tracks will likely all be originals, expect to hear an array of influences, from country to punk to jazz to blues to funk.

In the meantime, you can check out one of their frequent live performances. Next up is a performance this weekend at an open house celebrating the new digs of local indie record label Baby Gas Mask Records.

Miss Olivia and the Interlopers plays along with Lana Rebel & Kevin Mayfield, and Golden Boots at the new Baby Gas Mask Records studio, 960 E. 17th St., at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Friday Night Lights

This week, like last, is unusually rich in great live musical offerings - including a couple of long-awaited resurfacings of well loved local bands. For the best chance at seeing a few, I suggest you keep your Friday schedule clear.

Laura and the Killed Men, is reuniting after a long hiatus for an early show at Che's Lounge on Friday evening.

Later that same night, it's the return of Jillian and the Giants, opening for local singer-songwriter Katie Haverly in support of Haverly's new album, Pluto.

It's also the night The Monitors return to the stage, newly christened as the New Monitors and sharing a bill with Peppermint Hippo and Still Life Telescope.

Yet another notable Friday night show this week is Hearts & Guitars, a benefit for pediatric heart transplant research featuring performances from The Rifle, Black Medicine and Street Blues Family.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg on a single evening. Check your local listings to find out the rest.

Check your local listings...

Friday, Feb 2

  • Laura and the Killed Men - 5:30 p.m. Che's Lounge Patio
  • Mustang Corners - 7:30 p.m. at Borderlands
  • Katie Haverly w/ Jillian and the Giants and House of Stairs - 7:30 p.m. at Club Congress
  • The Octopus Project, New Fumes - 8 p.m. at 191 Toole
  • Oliver Ray - 8 p.m. at Exo Bar
  • Rezz - 8 p.m. at the Rialto Theatre
  • The Rifle, Black Medicine and Street Blues Family - 9 p.m. at Flycatcher
  • Still Life Telescope, The New Monitors, Peppermint Hippo - 9 p.m. at Saint Charles Tavern
  • Eric Schaffer & the Other Troublemakers - 9 p.m. at The Parish
  • Natalie Pohanic - 9:30 p.m. at La Cocina

Saturday Feb 3

  • Sturdy Ladies, Monsignor Wednesday's Guitar Mass - 1 p.m. at Saint Charles Tavern
  • Eric Schaffer & the Other Troublemakers - 9 p.m. at The Parish
  • Kyklo - 4 p.m. at Food Conspiracy Co-op
  • Andy Hersey - 6 p.m. at The Parish
  • Nathaniel Burnside - 6:30 p.m. at La Cocina
  • Ned and the Dirt, Dirt Friends, Half-Broke Town - 7 p.m. at Club Congress
  • Pedro y Los Lîricos - 8 p.m. at Exo Bar
  • Eric Schaffer and the Other Troublemakers -9 p.m. at Sky Bar
  • Moonshine Voodoo - 9 p.m. at The Edge Bar
  • Mark Farina - 10 p.m. at 191 Toole

Sunday Feb 4

  • Mariachi Luz de Luna - 11 p.m. at Playground
  • Mik and the Funky Brunch - 12:30 p.m. at La Cocina
  • Mean Mary is Blazing - 6 p.m. at Monterey Court
  • Velvet Panther - 8 p.m. at Flycatcher
  • Bad History Month, Longface - 8 p.m. at Club Congress
  • Miss Olivia and The Interlopers w/ Lana Rebel & Kevin Mayfield, and Golden Boots -7 p.m. at Baby Gas Mask Records (960 E 17th St)

Tuesday, Feb 6

  • Tom Walbank - 6:30 p.m. at Sky Bar
  • SkinLab w/ Mount Meru and Blueprints for Destruction, Eyes Go Black - 7 p.m. at House of Bards
  • Phoebe Bridgers, Soccer Mommy - 8 p.m. at 191 Toole
  • Songs with Steff Koeppen - 8:30 p.m. at Sky Bar
  • Nancy McCallion & Danny Krieger - 9:30 p.m. at Monterey Court

Wednesday, Feb 7

  • Miss Lana Rebel & Kevin Michael Mayfield - 6 p.m. at La Cocina
  • Natalie Pohanic - 7 p.m. at The Coronet
  • Iration - Heatseekers Tour, The Movement, Tyrone's Jacket - 7:30 p.m. at The Rialto
  • Street Blues Family - 8 p.m. at Club Congress

Thursday, Feb 8

  • Chuck Prophet - 7:30 p.m. at Club Congress
  • Mac Sabbath - 8 p.m. at 191 Toole
  • OC45, Bleach Party U.S.A, Sucker For The Sour, Paid To Play - 8 p.m. at Loudhouse
  • Legion of Mario - 8:30 p.m. at Tap and Bottle
  • Krab Legz, Bear Call & JL6 - 9 p.m. at Flycatcher
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Miss Olivia and The Interlopers

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