Geoff Oelsner Releases A New CD

By Emily Kaitz

Fayetteville singer-songwriter and poet Geoff Oelsner will celebrate the release of his second CD, “Ordinary Mystery” at a free event at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. The CD debuts 15 new songs and includes musical performances by his wife Leslie Oelsner, their daughter, Amy, and son, Adam. With the addition of 16 poems by Geoff and a series of nature photographs by Leslie in the CD booklet, “Ordinary Mystery” could be considered a multimedia family project as well as an artistic venture of the highest order for Geoff.

Oelsner is concerned with historical themes, reverence for the natural world, equality and dignity for human beings, and expressions of love for those close to him. He is masterful with words and has a very creative approach to presenting his songs, which was evident on his first CD, “Morning Branches.” Oelsner generally accompanies himself on guitar, but also uses the droning Middle-Eastern shruti box and harmonium as well as the harmonica, sometimes building layers of meandering tonalities into an aural labyrinth, which the listener may wander in a trance-like state.

This CD is for serious listeners. With many of the songs more than 5 minutes long, Oelsner is less concerned with commercial airplay than with presenting each song as a world unto itself, unfolding like a short story in breadth and description. Such is the opening song, “Chero-

Leslie and Geoff Oelsner

kee Trail Of Tears,” which gives an unvarnished account of Native American relocation.

“Our terrified children, our dear ones in fear, were dragged from our cabins in Georgia.”

“We were torn from our homelands and penned in stockades, taking only the clothes that we wore.”

Oelsner’s soulful voice is showcased on “I Been In The Storm So Long,” his psychedelic rendition of a traditional spiritual. His keen wit is evident on “Pawhuska Poppa,” replete with an imaginary ethnomusicologist’s lengthy introduction to “a seminal example of Northeast Oklahoma swing music.”

Co-produced and engineered by Kelly Mulhollan, “Ordinary Mystery” also features the multi-instrumentalist on acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic and electric bass, mandolin and octave mandolin, recorder, ukulele, pump organ and guiro.

Leslie and Amy Oelsner contribute harmony vocals, Adam Oelsner plays accordion and electric bass, and Robin Rues and Andrew Sieff add powerful performances on upright bass and percussion respectively.

Proceeds from CD sales will go to Native American and indigenous Canadian nonprofit groups. See for more information.

Categories: Music