Tuesday, February 10, 2015

MARK OLSON: "Good-bye Lizelle"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Glitterhouse/Border 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Mark Olson came to fame in the eighties as your dedicated co-founder of the Jayhawks and their alt-country like music. They've been kinda on/off for a while and I believe that Olson decided to leave once again to pick up his solo career where he left it in the dust of America. 'Good-bye Lizelle' is a splendid little effort with a strongly identifiable sound and core in Americana, singer/songwriter, folk, and the hint of different cultures and country.

The first couple of tracks [Lizelle Djan, Running Circles] display his love for George Harrison and especially the early solo albums by the former Beatle-member (RIP). Norwegian singer, co-writer, multi-instrumentalist, partner, Ingunn Ringvold (Clavinova, keyboards, bass, quanon, guitar, djembe) add the healthy dose of 'Kharma' and several tracks speak of mysticism as it's almost Hare Krishna light, minus the religion part. Definitely not as much cowboy-music and twang as expected considering the Jayhawks past and a lot more of the spiritual world. The hippie friendly sound.

"All these games are not your own. How am I to show you what you need to learn? You're gonna need someone who can comfort you. You're gonna need someone who can stay by your side. When all your dreams come down". You could say it's a beautiful slash painful experience where the songs are written by a couple of proper craftsmen/woman and performed from the heart. The lovely basic "Cherry Thieves" reminded me at first of the smoothing sound of 'Crying In the Rain' as in performed by the Everly Brothers and A-HA (not the Whitesnake tune), but grew into something different. Mark's vocals versus Ingun's fragile yet strong voice (almost Emmylou-like) is the winning concept. Based on a true story as Mark grow them in his hometown of Joshua Tree near the Mojave Desert and I quote, "One day I walk into the orchard and there was a ladder I did not recognize. Just when I was getting used to that a pick up pulled up and someone started to come out to get the ladder. I shouted woe partner and they took off. I chased them down the road in my pick up. It was like a bad movie. They had stolen all the cherries and forgotten their ladder", end quote.

The superb, "Which World Is Ours", reeks of 'the man in black' (RIP) and his bride. "Long Distance Runner" is just the perfect song and the dedication to Emil Zatopek. It's wonderful gentle vocals by Olson/Ringvold and soul stirring melodies that will make the listener stop whatever they're doing and simply pay attention to the music. Recommended.

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