Brian Olive already had an impressive career working with some of the more notable figures on the Midwest garage rock and punk blues scene before he reinvented himself with his first solo album in 2009. An Ohio native, Olive got his start in music when he was in high school, playing guitar in a band called Us and Them that would evolve into the celebrated garage rock combo, The Greenhornes. Olive appeared on the group’s first two albums, 1999’s Gun For You and 2000’s The Greenhornes, but parted ways with the band to focus his energies on another project, The Soledad Brothers. Formed by two fellow Ohioans, Johnny Wirick (aka Johnny Walker) and Ben Smith (aka Ben Swank), Olive relocated to Detroit with the band and, like his new bandmates, adopted a stage name, Oliver Henry.
The Soledad Brothers struck up a friendship with Jack White, whose group The White Stripes were just starting to earn some local buzz, and White produced the band’s self-titled debut album (with Meg White helping out on percussion). Olive played keyboards, guitar, sax, and flute with The Soledad Brothers, but after recording the band’s second album, Steal Your Soul and Dare Your Spirit to Move, he parted ways with the band and left the Midwest looking for a new musical direction.
Reclaiming the name Brian Olive, he decided he wanted to form a band where he would call the shots, and relocated to Cincinnati, where he helped set up The Diamonds recording studio in the basement of a jewelry store and began working up material with a handful of like-minded musicians. The sessions evolved into Olive’s self-titled debut album, released in June 2009, which found him exploring blues, R&B, jazz, garage rock, and psychedelia with equal degrees of skill and eclecticism. The sophomore release Two Of Everything followed in 2011, with Olive and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keyes sharing production duties. In 2012, Olive co-wrote and played on the Auerbach-produced, Grammy winning Dr. John album, Locked Down, for which Olive also received a Grammy.
In November 2016, Olive finished up his third solo album, Living On Top, which he wrote, produced and mixed in The Diamonds, his studio in the Northside of Cincinnati. The album ties together just about everything that’s crossed Olive’s transom since his days with The Greenhornes and The Soledad Brothers – up to and including the songwriting and playing skills that earned him a Grammy and a place in Dr. John’s musical legacy. Living On Top showcases Brian’s innate musical ability and cross-pollination prowess tying together rock, funk, R&B, soul, pop, African rhythms with his laid back style to create an album that achieves what so few do any more – 10 songs of back-to-back listening pleasure.