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Ollabelle Throws a Party at The Bowery Ballroom on Friday

October 5th, 2011

The roots-rock band Ollabelle, whose name is an ode to folk singer Ola Belle Reed, formed late in 2001 over the course of several Sunday-night gospel-music sessions in an Alphabet City bar. It was clear from the start that the six multi-instrumentalists— Amy Helm (vocals and mandola; she also plays in dad Levon Helm’s band), Fiona McBain (vocals and guitar), Tony Leone (vocals, drums and percussion), Byron Isaacs (vocals, bass and dobro; another member of Levon’s band), Glenn Patscha (vocals, keys and accordian) and Jimi Zhivago (guitar; no longer with Ollabelle)—were not short on talent or musical influences. In fact Ollabelle (above, covering “Brokedown Palace”) expertly covers bluegrass, blues, folk, jazz, rock and soul, and has toured extensively. And on Friday night at The Bowery Ballroom, the now five-piece will perform all of new album Neon Blue Bird and then do a second set of favorites. And as an added bonus guests like Zhivago and a horn section featuring John Ellis and Clark Gayton will join the group.