CD Review:

The Octavia Blues Band ~ It Ain’t What You Get, It’s What You Give  September 22, 2015 by Bluesdoodles The Octavia Blues Band It Ain’t What You Get, It’s What You Give  Independent  This is Blues with power, attitude and a focus of purpose, Octavia sings the blues she definitely has the vocals and her harp playing is something special, the band gives lots on this their fifth album; It Ain’t What You Get, It’s What You Give. Having listened it is not surprising that Octavia is described as Pennslyvania’s First Lady of the Blues the ten tracks are steeped in blues that stretch your imagination with a deep down dirty and emotional feel. The band is a tight four piece whose talents mesh together creating a full sound that drives the music along shaping the pace and tone. Octavia is at the heart as vocalist, guitarist, harp player and the writer of songs. The rhythm section Mike Hess, bassist and vocals and Jamie Furhman on drums, and sharing guitar and vocal duties is Chip Stanilla. Every track has something to offer opening with a fast moving happy sound of Playin For My Keep, it is that tuneful with harp that catches your attention a perfect hook to get you listening to The Octavia Blues Band. The tempo is upbeat for the title track and the music has an infectious, foot tapping quality. Ice Cold Beer is just what is needed to cool you down dancing to the beat that just gets you off your seats with a hint of rockabilly fun this is a blast and the antidote for the following track; Got A Fever. This slows down the pace with blues infused with Jazz and a change of vocalist as Chip cries Oh Lord the gospel sound is intoned in a classy emotionally fueled track. Naughty Girl is full of devilish mischief, reflecting on this being a true story when Octavia sang her way out of a speeding ticket, in addition to the voice is stunningly accomplished harp playing as Octavia bends and shapes the notes to reflect her vocals; the drumming is relentless and you want to get to know this naughty girl.  The whole album is crammed with soulful interpretation of the Blues that is full of emotional intelligence and lyrical expressiveness. Octavia is the heart of the band providing the beat, energy and verve for the band to play from creating a sound reflecting the skills of the musicianship of The Octavia Blues Band captured for fifty minutes on a blues infused It Ain’t What You Get, It’s What You Give. Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …. Track Listing Playin’ For My Keep It Ain’t What You Get, It’s What You Give It’s You I’m Lovin’  Ready For The Weekend  Service Call  Itchin’  Ice Cold Beer  Got A Fever  Naughty Girl  Simply Pure


The Daily Item


WILLIAMSPORT — Lady sings the blues … and she does it mighty fine. The lady in question can be captivating, wickedly soulful and eloquent all at the same time. She is none other than Pennsylvania’s First Lady of Blues, Octavia, a singer, songwriter, guitarist, harmonica player and blues-infused wonder.  How gifted is this Philly native? So gifted one might ponder how all that talent can be crammed into just one person. “We are not simply playing and singing a bunch of songs. This band takes you on a journey of feel good,” she said.  That euphoric blues feeling occurs from the band’s carefully arranged tight shows filled with back-to-back high-energy blues dance music. Hailing from varied backgrounds, each band member adds a different flare to the music while spicing the blues with different genres such as R&B rock and smooth to gritty jazz. “We each are hopelessly in love with music and performing which proves to be nothing short of infectious to the audience. Our interactive performance highlights the electric chemistry amongst these musicians,” she said. The fellow musicians are Chip Stanilla on lead guitar and vocals, Mike Hess providing bass guitar and vocals along with Jamie Furhman on drums. “The chemistry is wonderful. We love what we do and adore sharing it with you,” Octavia said. “Original music is the character of a band and defines bands from each other. We’ve got tons of good original music many of which will be on my soon-to-be-released sixth album. On the other hand, we all love covers as they seem to mark time.”’

– Jeffrey Allen Federowicz


Octavia is Central PA’s most fearless bluestress, featuring her over-the-top rockin’ band. What you get is boldly stated blues, a hot harmonica and a new and possibly alarming definition of sexy.
– Jessica Smucker


Octavia’s blues harp playing is freakishly good. She holds a note on ‘Cold Day in Hell’ so ST LOUIS BLUES MAGAZINElong it almost gives the listener a pulmonary embolism. ‘Down in the Hollow’ showcases most of the skills of this singular Lancaster talent and her excellent band. Her vocals are a sultry combination of velvet and gravel, capable of morphing from a hushed vulnerability into an indignant, bellowing roar. Beyond the brilliance of Octavia’s mastery of the blues idiom through her instrument, her writing, and her vocal interpretation, the CD is also a guitar album, with Bill Wasch’s blistering solos standing toe-to-toe with the harmonica pyrotechnics. This is a serious, gifted artist that has been immersed in blues for decades and has shared the stage with the likes of Etta James, B.B. King, and Dr. John.’

– Alex Greenberg

This blues diva continues to write, record and spread her talents through her band, ‘The Octavia Blues Band’.

  • Playin’ For My Keep – moaning harp, soulful vocals and crafty electric slide work.
  • Down In The Hollow – slow grooving folksy blues tune with that signature harp.
  • Cold Day In Hell – could be the longest harp note held in the history of da’ blues.

– Joseph UJ Miller


Down In The Hollow CD was rated 5 out of 5 Blues Hats. BLUES & RHYTHM MAGAZINE. Picks of the bunch: ‘Cold day In Hell’ with some of the longest held harp notes I’ve ever heard, the grinding ‘Service Call’ and an absolutely lascivious take on Clarence Williams’ ‘Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl’. ‘Down In The Hollow’ is a first class effort.
– Dirk Wissabaum


Octavia is certainly one of the classier lady singers on the contemporary blues scene.
– Phil Wight