Carla Olson

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Carla Olson
Born (1952-07-03) July 3, 1952 (age 67)
Austin, Texas
Years active1978–present
LabelsA&M Records, Virgin Records Sweden, IRS Records, Enigma Records, Fuel2000 Records, Sunset Blvd Music, Demon Records, Blue Elan Records
Associated actsThe Textones
Gene Clark
Mick Taylor, Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, Don Henley, Paul Jones, Barry Goldberg

Carla Olson (born July 3, 1952) [1][2] is a Los Angeles-based songwriter, performer and record producer.[3]


Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Olson moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1978 where she formed the Textones, whose debut album Midnight Mission entered the Billboard 200.[4]

An early version of the Textones consisting of Olson, Kathy Valentine, Markus Cuff, and David Provost, played the late 1970s punk/new wave scene in Los Angeles and toured the US and Europe. They also released an EP in the UK and a single in the US. Their debut album for A&M Records, Midnight Mission, consisted of Olson along with George Callins, Joe Read, Tom Jr Morgan, and Phil Seymour. They also toured the US and Europe. The record charted at 76 on the Billboard 200, and both singles, "Standing In The Line" and "Midnight Mission", were featured videos on MTV, and received radio airplay as well.[2][5][6] The second Textones album, Cedar Creek, was released in 1987 by Enigma Records.

Olson has received critical acclaim for her work as a solo performer, band leader, and producer. In varying capacities she has worked with former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, Percy Sledge (Sledge has recorded five songs that Olson has written or co-written), Ry Cooder, Gene Clark, Don Henley, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, John Fogerty, Mikael Rickfors, and many others.[7] Her musical partnerships in the 1980s included former Byrd member Gene Clark (which resulted in a duet album, So Rebellious a Lover) and Mick Taylor. The Carla Olson and Mick Taylor band included George Callins on guitar, Jesse Sublett on bass (Sublett had previously played with Olson and Valentine in Austin in a band called the Violators), Tom Jr Morgan on saxophone, and Rick Hemmert on drums. Their live album Too Hot For Snakes added Ian McLagan (Small Faces, Faces) and Barry Goldberg (the Electric Flag, the Rides) on keyboards. Varying combinations of these musicians also appear on the subsequent Olson studio albums Within An Ace, Reap The Whirlwind, and The Ring Of Truth.

Olson also appeared in Bob Dylan's first video (for the song "Sweetheart Like You"). To return the favor, Dylan gave Olson his previously-unreleased song "Clean Cut Kid" which she recorded on Midnight Mission. Ry Cooder played slide guitar on the track.[8][9][3][10]

Since 2001 Olson has concentrated most of her energies on music production,[11] but has continued her songwriting and co-writing activities. She has written music for lyrics (or poems) by Sterling A. Brown, George Callins, Allan Clarke, George Green, Rick Hemmert, Brian Jones. She has also written with Barry Goldberg, Mikael Rickfors, Danny Tate, and Danny Wilde.

Olson has produced full albums for Jake Andrews, Ana Gazzola, Barry Goldberg, Paul Jones (with special guest Eric Clapton), Chubby Tavares, Phil Upchurch, Joe Louis Walker, Mare Winningham, Davis Gaines, Ash Grunwald, Big Kettle Drum as well as individual tracks by Sugar Blue, Tommy Castro, Roy Gaines, Coco Montoya, Charlie Musselwhite, Peter Noone, Billy Joe Royal, Otis Rush, Son Seals, BJ Thomas, the Ventures and Brenton Wood. A second Olson-produced Paul Jones album was released in February 2015, Suddenly I Like It.[citation needed]

In 2013, after not releasing an album of her own since The Ring Of Truth in 2001, Olson recorded Have Harmony, Will Travel, which was an album of cover songs with guest vocalists on each track including Rob Waller, John York, Richie Furay, Juice Newton, James Inveldt, Scott Kempner, Peter Case and Gary Myrick. [12]

May 26, 2015, saw the re-release of the Textones albums Midnight Mission and Cedar Creek by Omnivore Recordings. Both albums were expanded editions with additional studio tracks, live recordings, photos and newly written essays.[needs update]

In January 2017, Olsons's debut solo album, recorded in Malmo, Sweden, in 1988, was released in the U.S. by Sunset Blvd Records. This U.S. edition is titled Rubies & Diamonds after one of the album's tracks. It features Olson and George Callins of the Textones, plus most of the members of the Swedish rock band Wilmer X: Thomas Holst (lead guitar), Stefan Bjork (bass guitar), Sticky Bomb (drums) and Jalle Lorensson (harmonica). The album was produced by Tomas Gabrielsson along with Olson and Callins.[13]

September 2018 saw the release of a Textones reunion album, Old Stone Gang, on Blue Elan Records. Carla is joined by Textones George Callins, Tom Jr Morgan, Joe Read and Rick Hemmert as well as earlier members Markus Cuff, David Provost and Kathy Valentine plus Rusty Young of Poco and Allan Clarke of the Hollies.

On May 3, 2019 "The Hidden Hills Sessions" was released, an acoustic duets album with Todd Wolfe.

November will see a re-release of True voices and will include a very unique new recording. hint, think July 3 and July 3 and July 3.

January of 2020 is when the long awaited 2nd volume of Have Harmony, Will Travel will be issued featuring Stephen McCarthy, Timothy B. Schmit, Peter Noone, Terry Reid, Ana Gazzola, Jim Muske, Mare Winningham, Vince Melouney and a few departed pals: Percy Sledge and Gene Clark.



  1. ^ "Carla Olson Biography". Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Appleford, Steve (October 7, 2002). "In 'Truth' Beats the Heart of a Textone: Carla Olson, leader of the '80s band, was 'waylaid.' But she's back now". The Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ a b Howard Massey, "Carla Olson", in Behind the Glass: Top Record Producers Tell how They Craft the Hits, Volume 2 (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2009), ISBN 978-0879309558, pp. 124ff. Excerpts available at Google Books
  4. ^ "Midnight Mission : Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-07-14.
  5. ^ "Textones on Marketing 'Mission,' Group's Carla Olson Puts Promo Skills to Work," Billboard, November 3, 1984, 56
  6. ^ Righi, Len (December 20, 1984). "The Textones' Mission is to Break Out of Los Angeles". The Morning Call. Lehigh Valley. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  7. ^ Horowitz, Steve. "Carla Olson and the Textones: Detroit '85 - Live & Unreleased". PopMatters. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  8. ^ Roland, Terry (2013-04-26). "Carla Olson: The Gypsy Rider Returns - No Depression Americana and Roots Music". Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  9. ^ "Music Search, Recommendations, Videos and Reviews". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  10. ^ Kihn, Blog (2008-10-18). "PVAc to 44.1 kHz: The Textones: Midnight Mission (1987) + Through The Canyon (1989)". Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  11. ^ "Carla". Carla Retrieved 2014-06-16.
  12. ^ Have Harmony, Will Travel: A Conversation With Carla Olson, Mike Ragogna at, 04/29/2013
  13. ^ Rubies & Diamonds at AllMusic

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