Olivia Kellman – Voices Need Sound single
Olivia Kellman puts her considerable musical and lyrical talents to admirable use with her new single “Voices Need Sound”, a track crafted with the recent school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Florida in mind and has decided any profits from this song should be diverted to those in need as a result of those events. The song stands on its own as a work of art divorced from current events, with much of the same intelligence and coolly confident poetry defining her earlier debut album, but she’s naturally given of herself completely to this subject matter and identifies with the survivors of this terrible tragedy without ever becoming strident or overly dogmatic. Such decisions are the hallmarks of what kills art and Olivia Kellman demonstrates, for anyone who didn’t get the memo with On My Way, that she is a genuine artist in every respect.
Kellman’s singing and songwriting is why we’re here. Her voice is a thoughtful, considered presence throughout the entirety of the release and dovetails nicely into the music. The arrangement has many sounds percolating through the mix – fiddle, electric and acoustic guitar, piano, and drums come together with great artfulness. There are natural melodic strands coming through the arrangement and the vocal melody pairs up rather nicely with the music. Despite the folk rock sound of the release, it has a nice rousing flavor that never gets too carried away with itself, and the drumming gives it a gently rolling urgency. There’s a variety of moods she brings to bear during the song and the electric guitar provides the song with an uneasy undercurrent courtesy of the electric guitar playing that comes in around the song’s half way point. It’s a very fulfilling track in multiple ways and, despite running four and a half minutes long, you want to hear more by the time it concludes.
The lyrics mix a lot of feelings and emotions. It isn’t any stretch to assume a songwriter so inspired by these events would create a swirl of conflicting emotions in their writing and Kellman definitely embodies that with this single. There is grief, flashes of denunciation, descriptive writing, empathy, and anger coming through at different turns throughout the song. The fiddle playing near the song’s end gives the track a twist in a different direction, giving a slight melancholy tinge to the song’s second half. It’s another mark of what makes this song especially memorable – Kellman has no hesitation peppering the song with a number of memorable turns that elevate it this beyond mere tribute or protest. Instead, this is an example of a great artist turning immense grief into great art and using it to fulfill the best of all possible ends. Olivia Kellman’s emergence from the Chicago area with her first album On My Way established her as one of the singer/songwriter scene’s most important voices and the new single “Voices Need Heard” underlines why for newcomers or any remaining skeptics.