Mark Olson and Gary Louris: Ready for the Flood (Hacktone/Elite)

 |   |  1 min read

Olson and Louris: My Gospel Song for You
Mark Olson and Gary Louris: Ready for the Flood (Hacktone/Elite)

Given that albums aren't recorded in the order we hear them it's surprising how many peter out after the halfway mark: I guess that's what you call "playing your aces first".

This album by luminaries Olson and Louris who last played together in the Jayhawks over a decade ago does the opposite however: after the halfway mark (in truth well before it), the songs seem to get stronger. Perhaps that's also due to the casual familiarity of these voices growing on you?

Recorded by the Black Crowes' Chris Robinson who keeps things acoustic, simple and pleasingly spare, these lyrically interesting songs work sometimes spare folk-rock changes or seem to have sprung from pre-Eagles California as much as somewhere Southern and rural. Certainly the spirit of James Taylor and even Nick Drake is here walking alongside that of Gram Parsons and Levon Helm. There's Anglo-folk alongside the songsmith smarts of a Paul Simon

Gentle finger-picking underpins soft songs such as Saturday Morning on Sunday Street where the close harmonies glisten, in other places the tempo is kicked up in a low pop-rock Creedence-cum-John Fogerty manner (Chamberlain, SD with Robinson on harmonica) and the voices have a more abrasive and sand-paper quality.

There is the obligatory death ballad here (Bloody Hands) but mostly this is a melancholy and thoughtful album that impresses on a first hearing for its low-key nature -- and grows in stature as it goes. Both over time and in the running order. 

PS. Last year Louris released the very fine Vagabonds album, also recorded by Robinson. Just released is the Acoustic Vagabonds EP, six Vagabonds tracks done acoustically. Nice.

Share It

Your Comments

d geary - Mar 30, 2009

sweet - a Grant Lee Buffalo HONEY DON'T THINK vibe. whatever happened to him?

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

Freaky Meat: Delicatessen (Bright Yellow Beetle Records)

On what has already been described as "one of the unlikeliest liaisons -- in a musical sense -- that you're ever likely to find" (John Brinkman, Groove Guide), Freaky Meat pull together... > Read more

The Amazing: Gentle Stream (Subliminal/Southbound)

The Amazing: Gentle Stream (Subliminal/Southbound)

If you thought Sweden these days was all The Girl with a Bee in Her Bonnet and the killing sprees on Wallander, then The Amazing are here to reassure you that gentle psychedelic trip-rock with a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Neil Young; On the Beach

THE BARGAIN BUY: Neil Young; On the Beach

It always gives Elsewhere special pleasure when one of our Essential Elsewhere albums turns up going cheap, and possibly never more so than in the case of this Neil Young album from '74. The... > Read more



What can we say about the wonderful Tami Neilson – a longtime Elsewhere favourite – that we haven't said before? She turns in exceptional albums (her most recent Don't Be Afraid... > Read more