Categories :

Similar artists

Albums

CD$9.99

Folk/Americana - Released January 27, 2009 | New West Records

CD$8.99

Country - Released June 5, 2020 | Fiesta Red Records

CD$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released July 27, 2010 | Rykodisc

Mark Olson's first proper solo album, 2007's The Salvation Blues, was written and recorded in the wake of a powerfully traumatic romantic breakup, and as beautiful as it often was, the pain that inspired it was never far from the surface. Following a collaboration with his former partner in the Jayhawks, Gary Louris (2008's Ready for the Flood), Many Colored Kite finds Olson making music on his own again, and though these songs appear to be the work of a stronger and happier man, this remains a deeply introspective set of songs, with a keenly spiritual undertow running through these meditations on love, nature, and humanity. Beau Raymond produced these recordings, and the sound is simple and uncluttered, dominated by acoustic guitars and Olson's voice, and even when the album gingerly dips its toes into rock & roll, the music maintains a steady hand and a touch that's careful not to lean too hard on the tunes. Olson's vocals remain clear and impassioned, but there's a wary fragility in his voice that sets these performances apart from his early work, and the melodic twists and turns of "Morning Dove," "More Hours," and "Kingsnake" are ambitious and challenging, a clear departure from the sunnier mood of his work with the Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers and the lovely Midwestern plains of the Jayhawks. And as Olson emphatically declares "Praise the love, praise the light of the day" in "Morning Dove" or "There's a light that shines, there are dreams untold" in "No Time to Live Without Her," the lyrics carry a palpable subtext that Olson is seeking solace in divine love as well as more earthly comforts. Many Colored Kite is far from a carefree album, but if the backstory of The Salvation Blues was one of heartbreak, this music is about healing, and Olson's journal of emotional recovery is honest, compelling, and dotted with moments of unexpected joy, none more powerful than his evocative recollection of a childhood memory in "Wind and Rain." Not as cohesive as The Salvation Blues, Many Colored Kites is still a worthy and brave album that finds Mark Olson continuing to find new ways of sharing what life has taught him through his music. © Mark Deming /TiVo
HI-RES$14.99
CD$10.99

Country - Released August 25, 2017 | Glitterhouse Records

Hi-Res
After an ill-considered detour into world music on his 2014 album Good-bye Lizelle, former Jayhawk Mark Olson has moved back to somewhat more familiar ground with 2017's Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun. Like Good-bye Lizelle, Spokeswoman finds Olson collaborating with his wife and musical partner, Norwegian musician Ingunn Ringvold, and while the subtle twang of his work with the Jayhawks is largely absent, most of this music falls somewhere between contemporary folk and sunny pastoral pop, with a melodic sense that should feel familiar to anyone who has spent time with Olson's work. The performances are dominated by acoustic guitars, with electric instruments adding counterpoint and Ringvold adding additional colors on the Mellotron, with the simulated strings adding a shade of Baroque pop to the mix. Considering the bulk of the album was recorded in Olson and Ringvold's living room using a portable recording unit, Spokeswoman sounds remarkably lush, with John Schreiner's mix sounding at once airy and richly detailed, making the most of Olson and Ringvold's harmonies. Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun sounds so good, one can't help but wish the album was more interesting; while the music is often lovely on the surface, repeated listenings make it clear these songs are simply too languid for their own good, and the sun-dappled drift of this music ultimately spends most of its time stuck in one place. And Olson's lyrics, full of his usual meditations on life, love, and spirituality, don't engage the listener in the manner of his best work; these songs bring to mind the old saw about drama being impossible without conflict, and while Olson might not have been aiming for drama, he sure doesn't offer much to connect with. Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun is a decided improvement over Good-bye Lizelle, but despite the strength of its craft, it's still a disappointing effort from a major talent. © Mark Deming /TiVo
CD$8.99

Country - Released May 8, 2020 | Fiesta Red Records

HI-RES$1.49
CD$0.99

Country - Released August 4, 2017 | Glitterhouse Records

Hi-Res
CD$8.99

Country - Released April 3, 2020 | Fiesta Red Records

HI-RES$1.49
CD$0.99

Country - Released July 14, 2017 | Glitterhouse Records

Hi-Res