You can tell that Mark Olson is on a roll from the opening notes of the first track on his latest release, Many Colored Kite. With this release, Mark Olson has seemingly made peace with some of his demons—all painstakingly expressed on his last release, The Salvation Blues, and has now made a record that rocks with both bite and beauty.
The opening track is called “Little Bird of Freedom,” and it’s a song that builds its foundation from the many emotions of life, then endearingly lays them bare before the listener. Mark Olson has the ability to speak about praise, love and the mind of man all in one verse. But from song to song, the singer conveys a notion that life should not be left without living, and not without taking in with your own eyes all it is that you see.
“Bluebell Song” rings of joy, the vocal harmonies are pure, and almost echoed by their rawness so real, all crafted from the root of another uncanny Mark Olson melody. And Olson, known throughout rock for his collaboration in The Jayhawks with his harmony mate, Gary Louris, knows how to use his own northern croon to eerie perfection, as like on “Scholastica,” the most raggedly glorious track this side of Neil Young’s Time Fades Away—where the singer embodies the notion of departure, as each bristled breath that he takes brings you one step closer to his shores.
With Many Colored Kite, Mark Olson lets us all share a few moments in the life of a man who loves what he does, and who rises every day with an unmatched desire to create. His talents are distinct, and for a man as real as Olson is, one wonders if albums alone could express just how authentic his craft really is. Lucky for us, though, they do a damn fine job, regardless.