Mark Olson on the road promoting Many Colored Kite

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September 23, 2010
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
 Mark Olson, formerly of Jayhawks and Creekdipper fame, is on the road promoting his new album, “Many Colored Kite,” a follow-up to his solo debut “Salvation Blues.”

Olson is joined by Ingun Ringvold, his girlfriend and musical collaborator on the record.

“Many Colored Kite” was recorded in Portland. Accorrding to a biography in promotional materials on the songwriter, “the album finds Olson embracing a decidedly brighter path toward the future, exploring themes of freedom and struggle, isolation and belonging, spirituality and love.”

The title track for the album was written at a park in Oslo. “To me, a ‘many colored kite’ is the idea that instead of having a restrictive world, let’s have an inclusive one, where it’s good for people to have different ideas, different faiths, different languages.”

When asked what he hopes people get out of the record during a recent interview, he said “I hope something on it might move them.”

Olson is direct in his songwriting — an approach he compares to Bob Marley.

“I really like Bob Marley’s lyrical attitude — the way he forcefully delivers his lyrics means everything to him,” he said in a promotional statement about his new record. “When I first heard him, I must have been 19 or something; it was all very mysterious to me, and I didn’t get it then. But as time’s gone by, I realize that he’s very direct. He has a point of view and a philosophy, and though my point of view and my philosophy are different, I try to be direct like that.”

For example, in “Morning Dove,” he writes about an experience he had at his home in the desert. A flock of doves appeared just as he finished building his house. He performs the song solo and acoustic — the first time he’s done that in his entire career.

“I’ve always been in bands or groups; I’ve always liked playing off of other people,” he said. “But this song seemed so direct and personal, that I just went for it.”

Olson draws on memories from the past, including his childhood in Minnesota, but also was inspired to write songs about experiences he had on the road with Ringvold and Italian violinist Michele Gazich.

“Let’s face it — I worked hard on this record. I put everything I had into this one,” he said. “I tried to play my best, sing my best, and write my best. I want this to look towards the future, and I hope our story goes on.”