Mark Olson (musician)

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Mark Olson
The Jayhawks 2009.05.30 008.jpg
Mark Olson, May 30, 2009
Background information
Born (1961-09-18) September 18, 1961 (age 55)
Origin US
Genres Folk, Americana, alternative country
Years active 1985–present
Labels Glitterhouse Records
Associated acts The Jayhawks,
Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers
Website Official homepage page

Mark Olson (born September 18, 1961, in Minneapolis) is an American musician and singer-songwriter. He is the founder of the acclaimed alternative country bands the Jayhawks and the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers.


Olson formed the Jayhawks in 1984 with guitarist Caleb Palmiter. The Jayhawks released their eponymous debut album in 1986 through the independent label Bunkhouse Records. The band were signed by Minneapolis label Twin/Tone in 1987 and released Blue Earth. The album led the band to be signed by major label Def American; A&R representative and producer George Drakoulias is said to have heard Blue Earth playing in the background while on a phone call to Twin Tone in 1991 and signed the band later that year.

Their first album for Def American was the Drakoulias-produced Hollywood Town Hall in 1992. After a successful single, "Waiting for the Sun", and extensive touring the band went back in the studio and released the follow-up, Tomorrow the Green Grass in 1995, which yielded the radio hit "Blue".

Olson is known for his poetic lyrics, his stark mystical melodies and being a part of the folk, world and late 60s psychedelia soundscape. Also his Norwegian born wife and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ingunn Ringvold has a major role in Olsons touring and recording group.

Mark Olson in Örebro, Sweden, October 23, 2010

By 2000, Olson released one of the best albums of the year, the autobiographical My Own Jo Ellen as Mark Olson and the Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers. Two more albums recorded with the Creekdippers followed, December's Child in 2002 and Mystic Theatre in 2004. The same year saw the release of another Creekdippers album, Political Manifest.

He released his acclaimed solo album The Salvation Blues in June 2007. The album, written while he was staying with Cardiff-based folk singer and writer Charlotte Greig and her husband, novelist John Williams. After the release of The Salvation Blues, Olson toured the United States and Europe with Italian violinist Michele Gazich and Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Ingunn Ringvold playing djembe, percussion and piano and singing harmony vocals.

Many Colored Kite released on Ryko Disc in 2010 is one of the most beautiful folk-rock albums of all time. The song Beehive is a flowering spring tree of melody and poetry captured one night on magnetic tape in the Mojave desert.

In 2014 Olson released Good-bye Lizelle for Glitterhouse Records. The album received 4 stars in MOJO Magazine and Americana Album of the month. Olson has toured in Europe every year for the past 17 years. Olson has a keen eye for dramatic lyrics and song cycles that come from simple, everyday happenstance happenings. Olson is writing while he is on tour in foreign countries. He carries a Nagra recorder with him at all times in a backpack. He thinks of a growing hope that can rise up in people that overcome disturbing situations. He hopes and prays for peace in people's hearts who have known the uncertain and tossing waves of discrimination and injustice.


The Jayhawks[edit]

Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers[edit]




External links[edit]