[3 June 2007]
“There’s such joy and sweet moments / To be found in this world.” “There’s a hope in our hearts / There’s a future in our souls.” These lines, were they not delivered by the familiar, salt-of-the-earth warble of former Jayhawk and Creekdipper Mark Olson, would be hard to stand, much less believe. But in their respective songs they cannot be doubted, unpretentious but not un-ambitious—daring to be almost embarrassingly forthright and earnest. That’s always been Olson’s way: never trendy or trail-blazing, but so steeped in classic American song that his body of work seems to exist out of time. Salvation Blues, though as sunny and warm as any of his previous efforts, is however very much born of a particular time. Following the end of his relationship with singer-songwriter Victoria Williams, Olson flew to Oslo and Cardiff, Bath and Krakow, demo-ing songs like the bittersweet “National Express” and Jayhawks also-ran “Poor Michael’s Boat” (featuring harmonies by Gary Louris) that make up the sad, yet ultimately hopeful, consoling Salvation Blues. Welcome back Mark, we’re lucky to have you.