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The Salvation Blues

Mark OlsonAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, 2007 --  
Vinyl, 2009 $29.16  

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hacktone Records
  • ASIN: B000P6R6W4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,723 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. My Carol
2. Clifton Bridge
3. Poor Michael's Boat
4. National Express
5. Salvation Blues
6. Keith
7. Winter Song
8. Sandy Denny
9. Tears From Above
10. Look Into The Night
11. My One Book Philosophy

Editorial Reviews

Here starts the third stage of Mark Olson's recording career. He first came to prominence as the primary singer-songwriter for the Jayhawks, before leaving that seminal alt-country band to make music with his wife, Victoria Williams, in the more acoustic, organic Creekdrippers. With his reedy voice and elemental imagery, Olson details the painful dissolution of that marriage on this solo album, clinging to music as a lifeline when everything else is lost. In the album-opening "My Carol," he compares his love to "an animal bleeding in the snow," while "National Express" asks "Where's my home? How could I lose this in a day?" Yet musically, "Clifton Bridge" and "Winter Song" rank with the best of his Jayhawks work, and both the title track and "Look into the Night" find redemption in the midst of despair. Gary Louris joins his former Jayhawks bandmate for harmonies on three cuts. --Don McLeese

Product Description

Mark Olson was the founder of The Jayhawks, the most important band to emerge out of the 90's alt-country scene. Olson left after their most successful album, 'Tomorrow the Green Grass,' to pursue a simpler life in the California desert. A decade later, everything fell apart: Mark's marriage to singer/songwriter Victoria Williams ended, his group The Creekdippers disbanded, and he lost the home he had built by hand. These songs were written in the wake of that profound loss, during the two years he spent homeless - staying with friends in places as far-flung as Norway, Poland, and Wales. Produced by Ben Vaughn, 'The Salvation Blues' is Olson's first true solo album, made with some of LA's best session musicians. This album also features Mark's long-awaited reunion with Jayhawk Gary Louris, who provides harmonies on three songs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Instant Classic June 19, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Mid-way through Mark Olson's new album The Salvation Blues, the track Sandy Denny references the late 60's, early 70's British folk artist who would come to known as much for her personal difficulties with her husband (and alcohol) as she was for her songwriting. Such allusions echo Olson's painful split with his now ex-wife and bandmate Victoria Williams and loss of his beloved home in Joshua Tree, California; they also set the tone for this highly moving and personal recording, his first standout release since the Creekdippers' December's Child album from 2002 and My Own Jo Ellen, a classic from 2000.

As opposed to Olson's recent recordings that seem born of his life grounded in the California desert, pure Americana radiating joy, warmth, and belonging, The Salvation Blues conveys a sense of movement, distance, coldness and isolation while also making several references to Olson's travels through Europe (check out Clifton Bridge and National Express, both great songs). However, though the lyrics are evocative and moving, if not somewhat oblique, they aren't overly mournful either. Similarly, the music is generally, surprisingly upbeat, more sweet than bitter (as on Winter Song), capturing that folksy, acoustic sound Olson has become known for. Don't get me wrong, there are some sad tunes here (his solo Wurlitzer performance on My One Book Philosophy). It's just that in spite of darker themes, these songs ultimately give rise to deliverance and liberation, and in that context are as much about hope and optimism as they are about pain.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great record! July 7, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is easily the best work Mark Olson has done since he was with the Jayhawks. This record shows the heartbreak he has recently encountered, but all the time there is a message behind the music, that there is something better coming along and he is ready for whatever that is. Through the heartbreak this is hope, and well, salvation.

The 3 tracks that his former partner Gary Louris sings on, are just what is needed, it brings us back a little to their former greatness, and promises what is to come when their duo record comes out next year. Best tracks are Clifton Bridge, Salvation Blues, Sandy Denny and of course the old Jayhawks gem that was never recorded until now, Poor Michael's Boat.

Highly recommended for anyone who loves singer-songwriter, from the heart, just good music, something that is sorely lacking in most of today's music.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the voice still has it July 20, 2007
By greg s.
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Mark Olson's since the first time I heard him with the Jayhawks in about 1985. His voice, and how he used it, absolutely floored me. Now, over 20 years later, that voice is still there.

Plus, Gary Louris sings with Mark on a few tracks. When these two sing together, it is pure magic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't overlook this. January 11, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I bought the CD that included a small book of photographs and poetry. The words and images add to the experience of the CD as if to make it more multidimensional. This CD is an experience. It is sometimes risky to associate artists, but fans of the Jayhawks, and I know they're out there, should include this in their collection. It stands on its own and should be considered amongst the best of 2007. The production work, the lyrics, and overall quality of songwriting, not to mention the emotion of some of the songs, really works for me. Similar to Tim O'Regan's CD last year and likely the upcoming Gary Louris CD, these former Jayhawks know how to make the same great music on their own that they made together for many years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING! As good as his Jayhawks work June 19, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
On this masterpiece, Mark Olson noticeably reclaims the lyrical voice of his earliest days with The Jayhawks. Not that he ever lost it, but here he matches it up with a sound that takes fans back to those early records. Gary Louris, collaborator on so much of the classic "Univoice" that The Jayhawks were known for, sings harmony on 4 tracks, although he is mixed down just a bit below Mark. One of these tracks was actually once a Jayhawks demo and it gets an update here that places it cleanly into the context the band would have [Poor Micheal's Boat]. Truth be told, many of these songs would have worked fine on a Jayhawks reunion record. Since it is a solo album the instrumentation is sparer. But Ben Vaughn's production makes it unmistakenly lean toward a band sound not too often heard in Olson's post-Jayhawks career. Occasional additions of strings, horn parts, or steel guitar take the already strong material to another level, as does a country-blue guitar sound reminiscent of Mr. Louris himself. Longtime Jayhawks fans can feel richly rewarded, as this sounds closer to their classic "Blue Earth" and than anything any of these folks have done since.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure March 3, 2009
Format:Audio CD
I love this album. There is pain in it, there is hope in it. Mark lays it all out. I get a knot in my throat when I hear it. Keep making music.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great album November 4, 2007
Format:Audio CD
I didn't know that Mark Olson had a new album until I did an itunes search for anything Jayhawks-related that was new. I listened to a few tunes then immediately downloaded the album. It's definitely his best solo work so far. If, like me, you need a Jayhawks fix from time to time then buy the cd or download it. The last song on the album kept me from giving it the full 5 stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars its Ok
I like some of the songs and some not so much but I find this to be true of most music I buy ,this is why people often down load the music from their computers but I find that the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by iya
5.0 out of 5 stars Vinyl edition makes 'The Salvation Blues' even more enjoyable!
This is a great album. An album that has to be felt to be fully appreciated. I've been listening to it since it came out, and I have to admit that it took some time to sink in. Read more
Published on October 26, 2011 by jason00454
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Release from One of Today's Finest Songwriters
The Jayhawks are/were a phenomenal band, sporting the elite songwriting team of Mark Olson and Gary Louris. Read more
Published on August 11, 2010 by A. Boyd
2.0 out of 5 stars Nervous Music
Mark Olson's "Salvation Blues" begins with the weeper "My Carol" and continues with tracks like "Poor Michael's Boat" and "National Express" that have Olson's nervous vocals with... Read more
Published on August 30, 2008 by Lee Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars one of his best
Mark since his early days with the Jayhawks has always had a pressence that you can not get enough of,Its good to see hes back after a long lay off,keep up the great music Mark.
Published on November 7, 2007 by Thomas E. Cragg
3.0 out of 5 stars The Colonel
In fairness I would like to say that I have only just recently listened to this CD. I am somewhat disappointed that there seems to be very little original thinking going on with... Read more
Published on October 15, 2007 by Ross I. Fenner
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Artistic Achievement
Loved this album from start to finish. Mark's unusual vocals and phrasing make his peotic lyrics even better. Gary Louris makes an appearance for all you Jayhawk fans.[like me! Read more
Published on July 17, 2007 by Rockfeat
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