What a nice surprise. The list of recording artists, and musicians forced to wait in reaping their just rewards, has gotten longer. Ole Ask has turned in a fine effort with his newest recording, "Ask." This native of Oslo Norway has firmly planted, "contemporary rock roots," that show obvious signs of an early integration with smooth blues, and jazz. From the cocktail lounge/Van Morrison sounding, "Mediterranean Flower," and "Great Many People," to the heart breaking "Born To Be Blue," featuring a soothing harmonica solo by local favorite Tom Burns, Ole has demonstrated his ability to reach across a wide range of writing styles. Most of this CD was recorded in Oslo with Ole's group, "Ask the Band," with three tracks being recorded in Minneapolis, using some rather accomplished Twin Cities musicians -- Willie Murphy, Bruce Mc Cabe, and Tom Burns, to name a few. Although there may not be a unique sound here, Ole does have one of those hard to forget voices, strong and smooth, but yet soft and raspy, perhaps a close cross between the late Doug Maynard, and Joe Cocker. If you looking for a solid blues record, this is not it. But, you will find some very pleasing blues licks in songs like "Doesn't Matter," and " There's No Doubt," plus some cool slide guitar on " Cool World." Never the less, a fine sophomore effort by Ole Ask and Ask the Band.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Michael Evan, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.