Born into a musical family, Odessa (née Odessa Jorgensen) started taking violin lessons when she was four. “I can remember what I wore to my first lesson so clearly,” she says. “It may be one of my better childhood memories.” In high school, she started playing guitar, playing with various rock bands in California and fiddling around with her own songwriting.
She heard Nashville had a big music scene, so when she was 18, she decided to fly there and check it out. “I stayed in a hostel and didn’t know a single person,” she says. “I found a bike and biked to all these different music venues and just fell in love with the place.”
Chance meeting at the grocery store
She took a job at a grocery store and started taking fiddle lessons in her free time. “After about a month, I met a woman in the grocery store line who needed a violin player. She’s this amazing lady named Gail Davies and is the first woman producer in country music. I started playing sessions for her and she’s been a guiding force in my musical life ever sense,” she says.
Soon, she started touring with bands, making a comfortable-enough living, but took the big risk of breaking away to record her own album, pairing up with Kings of Leon’s producer Jacquire King. But just when she felt she was finally in control of her music career, the universe reminded her that she wasn’t.
Odessa was putting the finishing touches on her album when she got hit by a car while riding her bike. She fractured her skull and spine and knocked her teeth out. Everything came to a stop for two months. She couldn’t sing. She couldn’t travel. She couldn’t do anything.
“The day I came home from the hospital, I got a phone call from Ed Sharpe’s manager (she met the band, by chance of course, on a train at the Railroad Revival Tour) asking me if I wanted to tour the country with them playing violin. The tour started the exact day my doctor said I would be able to walk around and start functioning,” she says.
“If I hadn’t gotten into that accident, I wouldn’t have gone on the road with them because I was fully devoted to my album at the time. But I didn’t have the energy to record. So I showed up six weeks later with a neck brace and 12 stitches in my lip, like ‘hey guys!’”
Now, the tour is long over and her first full-length album is finally out April 28. As for what’s next, she’s not quite sure. But somehow, we suspect everything will work out just fine.
Odessa in concert:
Tuesday, March 24, 7 p.m.
1200 Callowhill St.
New York City:
Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m.
6 Delancey St., 212-260-2700
Thursday, March 26, 7 p.m.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 N. 6th St., Brooklyn, 718-486-5400
Friday, March 27, 8 p.m.
Paradise Rock Club
967 Commonwealth Ave., 617-562-8800
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence