Paramount Theatre, September 20
by Neal Baker
Photograph by Taylor Boylston
When Angel Olsen played the Austin City Limits Music Festival back in 2017, she brought with her a posse uniformed in suits, bolo ties, and electric guitars. Upon her entrance, it was clear that the band was outfitted to contrast Olsen’s own maxi-dress-and-big-sunglasses style. Performing her blistering indie folk, the band played it cool while Olsen opened up to the crowd. This most recent iteration of her personality is one of many that the St. Louis native has taken on over the years as a performer. Her songwriting similarly models this varied spectrum, from the dry earthiness of her album “Half Way Home” and the gritty tremolo of “Burn Your Fire for No Witness” to the big-sky Western backdrop of her recent “My Woman.”
But the defining characteristic of Olsen’s music throughout has been neither the band nor the studio production. Her songs are all platforms for her sensible guitar playing and distinctly communicative voice. Both of these have plenty of room to shine on her current solo tour, which arrives at the Paramount Theatre on September 20. She’s touring not to back an album but simply to sing her songs. With a set list merging the recent and the retrospective, you’re just as likely to hear a new, unreleased song as something from years ago, all dressed up like you’ve never seen before.