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Rock: Classic Rock Moods: Mood: Intellectual Pop: Pop/Rock Rock: Adult Contemporary Rock: Acoustic

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United States - Nebraska United States - United States

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Enigma

Enigma, The Ultimate Acoustic Experience, is a duo formed by David M. Epp (guitars, bass, keys, drums, and, as Carolyn says, “Everything but the friggin’ oboe. Gotta buy that boy an oboe.”) and Carolyn Olesen (vocals, backing vocals, small percussion), in Southeast Nebraska.

[PLEASE NOTE: please don’t confuse THIS Enigma with one of the dozens of OTHER Enigmas, especially a particular German group. It’s not as uncommon a name as you might think, and we aren’t “trying to ride on someone else’s coattails,” as Other Enigma fans are so fond of accusing us. Why in the world would we do that? It makes no sense whatsoever that we would try to pass ourselves off as another band who plays an entirely different type of music. Here’s the deal: we’d never heard of them (neither of us has ever been a fan of electronica, nothing personal, Mikey C., just not our type of music), we chose our name because our project was hard to define. End of story. By the time Other Enigma fans started giving us crap, we’d already released our first CD and had been playing for a couple years. Amazon and iTunes confused us with the Other Enigma, and we’ve been trying to rectify it for years. So can we PLEASE get off this? Just make sure you know what you are buying. Hey, not our fault if people don’t read descriptions or listen to samples. If you buy the wrong thing, don’t blame us because you couldn’t be bothered to read. Sorry, folks, but after 13 years we’ve just had enough of that sort of thing.]

David Epp grew up in Henderson, NE, where his two great loves were music and riding horses. An accomplished rider (at one point ranked third in the world for jumping), he soon found the pursuit of music more compelling. He started first with piano and graduated to guitar, eventually picking up a plethora of other instruments (“except the friggin’ oboe”). He played in his first band at 14. He remembers asking his mother for an Alice Cooper record as a birthday present, and laughs, recalling that “Mom was startled that Alice wasn’t a girl.” From artists like Edgar Winter, Blue Oyster Cult and Grand Funk Railroad to Styx, Boston and Heart, David eventually was drawn to the 80’s LA Metal sound and eventually to prog rock.

Carolyn Olesen was an “Air Force brat,” whose family moved back and forth across the United States. Her mother began playing the guitar as a hobby when Carolyn was 5; consequently she grew up “singing with mom” and learning to harmonize, because, as she says, “I was a friggin’ alto. Nothing was in my key.” Her mother’s tastes in the early 70’s ran toward The Eagles, The Beatles, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot and the like. When her mom started giving guitar lessons, Carolyn made allowance by taking the “dumbed-down” sheet music one could buy in music stores and re-writing them to reflect more accurately what was played on the record. Attending high school in South Jersey and college in Iowa and California, she developed a love for “hippie music” (The Grateful Dead, CSNY, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd) as well as early progressive rock bands (Genesis, Yes, Kansas and Emerson, Lake and Palmer), and, later, the blues.

After lots of twists and turns in their respective lives, David and Carolyn started playing together at a local band jam, when both of their separate bands were on the verge of breaking up. Their original plan was to form a 4-piece rock band, but after failing to find the right combination of musicians, decided to work as an acoustic duo “in the interim.” What started as just something to do while they looked for the right musicians soon took off, and later that year they released their first CD “Juxtaposition” in 2006, followed by “Eccentricities” in 2008, “Cobalt” in 2011, and “Moon” in 2018.

Like their musical tastes, the songs they write are quite eclectic. “People ask who we sound like,” says Carolyn, “and the only thing we can say is that it depends on the song. One song we described as Stevie Nicks Discovers The Voodoo Side of New Orleans. Others were Melissa Etheridge Goes Metal, Bonnie Raitt Meets The Band, and Joni Mitchell Meets Rush.” Dave adds, “On any given CD, no two songs are alike. We have rock, pop/rock, blues, folk/rock, prog rock, and some stuff even WE don’t know how to describe.”

There are constants, of course. One is the diversity and rich textures of David’s compositions; they both like music that takes unexpected turns. Another is Carolyn’s fondness for multi-layered harmonies. A third is the variety of themes conveyed by the lyrics: love songs, character portraits, philosophical musings, socio-political commentary, humor, and fantasies ranging from past lives to horror and sci-fi (“She’s a big Stephen King fan,” says Dave). And finally, there is an intense and unending passion, which one can hear in every note.

Listening to Enigma is a lot like listening to an AOR FM station in the mid-seventies: a wide variety of types of music, nothing sounding anything like the others, but all uniquely thought-provoking and ultimately quite satisfying.



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