Shukes & Leaves: Grant Olsen's No Fool. But He'll Do Your Dirty Work"/>
The situation I'm spending the evening drinking at Al's Tavern in Wallingford with Grant Olsen, the singer/songwriter who fronts Gold Leaves. Olsen lives in an Eastlake apartment with his wife and their newborn girl, Francesca Lee--"Frankie," as he likes to call her. It's Olsen's first night out drinking since her birth four weeks ago.
How He Got Here When he's not on the road, Olsen supports his family by bartending at a catering company, a job he says offers an entertaining people-watching perk. "Everybody confides in you," he says. "[At a wedding] a guy told me that the groom tried to have sex with him on a rooftop on his 18th birthday. He was like, 'But we're not gay.' " At another wedding, Olsen discovered the groom, wasted, and his groomsmen worriedly gathered in the bathroom. "The groom had definitely shuked--like shit and puked at the same time," he says, teaching me a new word. "You could see the trajectory of it. We cleaned it up and charged them a biohazard fee."Shop Talk It's been more than a year since Gold Leaves' genial debut, The Ornament, was released on Hardly Art, and Olsen says the new songs he's writing are much livelier, more suited to the fleshed-out five-piece that the project has become. "I've been really interested in collecting beats," he says. "Not beatz with a Z, but, like, grooves. I want to make a groove-oriented record." The band recently recorded a cover of Lee Hazlewood's "Won't You Tell Your Dreams" that will be released on a Light in the Attic 7-inch this winter.
Olsen's also planning to release several countrified songs under his own name. "I'm not really going to be in the indie-rock camps. I'm getting too old," says the 35-year-old. "But I'm really young in the country/whiskey/surly bastard thing. That's kind of more of what I've always liked--just grumpy old men."
BTW: Fewer nights on the town aren't the only adjustment Olsen's had to make since becoming a parent. His in-home studio has been converted into a nursery, and he changed his first diaper at the hospital. "My first diaper became two right away. As I was doing it, more came," he recalls. "I was very fascinated by the shits for a long time. They're losing their luster, though, pretty quickly." But he's happy with and adjusting to his new role as father. "I enjoy it," he says. "I'm finally coming out of the clouds."
Gold Leaves plays the Crocodile as part of CityArts Fest this Thursday, October 18. Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Throw Me the Statue, and Tomten will open. The show starts at 7 p.m. and there is a $10 cover.