Mighty Mississippi drops for Olivia Jo

Olivia Jo is a rising bluegrass artist with a sweet singing voice and a deep love for the traditions of the music, both in evidence on her second single, a recut of Mighty Mississippi, which many grassers will recall from the very first Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver album in 1980.

Though she recorded a pair of bluegrass records as a pre-teen, the country scene eventually called when Olivia Jo was 16, and she made a number of recordings in that style. Still a young woman, she is finally back to her first love, singing the bluegrass that enamored her as a child. Olivia recalls that the first song her mother ever taught her to sing was Blue Moon of Kentucky.

She tells us that it was her fascination with the history of the music that led her to find the origins on the song chosen for this second single.

“I had never heard the original version of Mighty Mississippi until I did some digging, and found that it was originally recorded and released by The New Christy Minstrels back in 1963, and written by one of the group’s members, Randy Sparks. I had only listened to Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver’s cut from the original band album, which I love. I was immediately hit by the contrast of the two versions and could appreciate both for their individuality. Truthfully, I think that’s the beauty of doing a cover song. You can create something new and fresh while still keeping the integrity of the original song alive; and that’s what I strived to accomplish with my take of Mighty Mississippi.”

Olivia Jo gets support from a stout band that includes Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle, Shawn Lane on mandolin, Barry Bales on bass, and Lou Reid, who performed on the 1980 Quicksilver recording, adding guitar and harmony vocals.

Have a listen…

Mighty Mississippi from Olivia Jo is available now from popular download and streaming services online, Radio programmers can get the track via AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.