Mark Olson

The Salvation Blues | HackTone
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  August 28, 2007
2.0 2.0 Stars
This debut solo album by Mark Olson reflects on the former Jayhawks frontman’s divorce from singer-songwriter Victoria Williams, with whom he spent the late ’90s and early ’00s making records as the Creekdippers, a loose country-folk group based in the California desert near Joshua Tree. The Salvation Blues is, no surprise, something of a bummer. “I have wandered in the muck,” Olson announces straight off, in the opening “My Carol,” and in “The National Express” he admits, “Once I lost my self-respect/I was stranded and blue and all by myself.” Yet thanks in part to his peripatetic working method — he spent much of 2006 traveling the globe, with stops in Wales, Norway, and Poland — the album shimmers with the sort of musical detail that keeps woe-is-me songwriting from sounding (entirely) like a pity party. At least until the closer, “My One Book Philosophy,” in which he sings about becoming “a hobo in a hobo camp” while impersonating his ex-wife’s eccentric warble. That might be one for the private stash.

Mark Olson | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | September 2 | 617.931.2000
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