Olly Dowlen was born in 1953 and grew up in a period when music in Britain was beginning to cross boundaries in new and exciting ways: it was easy to move between jazz, English folk music, rock, pop, blues and classical music.
Olly played the guitar in folk clubs in the 1960s and 1970s and played the bass guitar and double bass in folk, jazz and jazz/rock bands. After working as a visual artist and teacher in the 1980s, he returned to music with the Irish traditional band Waxies Dargle for much of the 1990s. He worked with singer/songwriters Don Mescal, Graham Robins and Daniel Spiller.
He currently teaches guitar, plays the double bass with the Russell Williams Trio, is a member of the English dance and early music trio Northern Frisk and is one half of the blues-based duo Kalamazoo Junction.