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The Salvation Blues
Artist: Mark Olson
Label: Hacktone Records
Time: 11 tracks / 37 minutes
It seems I am drawn to artists in difficult situations, whether external circumstances or personal choices have put them in this position, does not matter to me. I am always attracted to artists who are trying to find hope and salvation in the midst of those experiences. The new Mark Olson does this perfectly.
When Olson left the Jayhawks back in 1995 I wondered what he was thinking. The Jayhawks seemed poised for the big breakthrough, though, which never happened. I curiously waited for what he would do and when the first Creekdippers (which included Victoria Williams) album came out I will have to say I was under whelmed. Since then I have waited for this record to come out. These songs are the best work Olson has done since his days in the Jayhawks. I get the feeling that Olson is a bit reinvigorated and it shows.
These songs were born out of two years of traveling and soul searching following the divorce from his wife. Though the past couple of years have been some of the darkest in Olson’s life, the lyrics tend to be more on the uplifting side of things. You get the sense that he is going through the process of healing and uplifting of the spirit.
An example of what I like best about this record is the song “Clifton Bridge.” With lyrics like “Some people came here to die / We came here to live / There’s a hope in our heart / There’s a future in our souls,” I found myself feeling that Olson was really tapping into what belief is all about
Also, longtime Jayhawks fans will be interested in the collaborations that Olson does with Gary Louris., who plays on three tracks, and co-wrote my other favorite track “Poor Michael’s Boat.” Also as a side note, I have read that both Olson and Louris have recorded an album together that should be released sometime next year, which I am anxiously awaiting.
So to sum it up, what you have here is the near perfect country rock record which summarizes not only Olson’s struggles with life, but exposes our own struggles as well. It also shows that there is goodness and salvation to be had.