Mark Olson of the Jayhawks | Welcome to the West Filmed Session
As sundown fast approached, we shot a straight line down the windmill-flanked highway to Joshua Tree, California. Among the many desert eccentrics, lives Mark Olson with his wife, Ingunn Ringvold. The pair warm a tiny, modular cabin surrounded by cacti and hot, packed red earth – a cast iron stove acting as the centrepiece of the family area, the room contains neatly strewn stacks of iterature and fascinating vintage instruments. A native of Minnesota, Olson is perhaps best known for his role in assembling seminal alt-country act, the Jayhawks in the mid 80s.
The principal songwriter in the beginning, Olson got together with Gary Louris and the two split these duties compiling their debut album, Blue Earth, which led to the group signing with record giants, Def American in 1987. After touring extensively in the early nineties in support of the Jayhawks two subsequent releases (Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow the Green Grass) Olson resigned as frontman, recording under the moniker, The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers with his former wife, Victoria Williams.
By 2005, Olson reached a life-altering impasse, as is documented in the feature film, Salvation Blues, which would later become the title of his first solo album. To the delight of fans world-over, he reunited with Louris and the Jayhawks and hit the road, regaining touring chops in Europe with Ringvold – a multi-intrumentalist, and songwriter for Sailorine out of Norway.
Beehive is a composition from Olson’s second solo effort called, Many Colored Kite (2010), which was recorded in his living room at the recommendation of the Joshua Tree Music Festival. His first full-length album with the Jayhawks in over a decade was released shortly before this session, penned mostly in this very residence.