Photos by: Ashton Istace and Wade Garvias
Written by: Ashton Istace
Edited by: Chris Istace
What seemed to be a quiet Saturday night on Nov. 11 wasn’t so at Saskatoon’s Capitol Music Club.
Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Steven Lee Olsen seized the stage for a wide-ranging ride through his classic country sound. The evening also featured Kieran Gardner and Olivia Rose to round out the show.
The crowded bar mumbled in excitement for 16-year-old Kieran Gardner from Clavet, Saskatchewan, the night’s opening act. Young Gardner and his acoustic guitar presented a somber tone, singing originals about young love, bad luck and heartbreak. He ended his act covering The Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” while the crowd sang the popular hit alongside him.
Edmonton’s Olivia Rose took over the microphone as the second act. She was an eye magnet, wearing a sparkly, disco-like dress while singing with a feminine country twang.
Rose has performed since she was eight. The veteran entertainer took hold of the spotlight and held the audience with narrative-driven numbers about a girl living on the Prairies. The setlist included originals such as “Truck Boi '' and “Gold” which were inspired by past relationships released just after the pandemic. Her fast-paced rhythm and passionate work on the acoustic guitar brought patrons to their feet to clap and dance. The energy ignited the club with exhilaration just before main act Steven Lee Olsen took over the stage.
The crowd hollered as Olsen stepped out behind the curtain to off his set with “Hello Country.” The sound of the bass rumbled the entire bar while couples two-stepped on the dance floor or swayed to the beat. The atmosphere captured what a show should be, with elements of rock and roll and Olsen’s traditional vocal sound melded perfectly to an overtly successful country music experience. The evening’s setlist also had Olsen performing songs such as “Nashville or Nothing” and “Relationship Goals” with hints of sound from the banjo.
Olsen’s old-school charm and finely-honed songwriting brought the essence of Nashville to Saskatoon for the night.
Olsen was inspired by the sound of early-2000s rock at a young age and even had his own rock band that led him to be the country music star he is known to be today. The band covered a medley of those influential songs, featuring Papa Roach’s “Last Resort”, Blink 182’s “All the small things", Foo Fighters’ “My Hero”, and Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” while still keeping the sound country. The crowd bought in, belting out the lyrics to the songs with him. Olsen closed the show with his new hit single “Outta Yours” released in January, co-written and produced with Corey Crowder and Brandon Day. However the crowd didn’t want to leave just yet. Everyone shouted for an encore causing Olsen and his band to end the night with one more song “Raised by A Good Time” released back in 2014. The patrons left satisfied knowing they’ve been an authentic country shindig.