Founding member of the Jayhawks, American singer-songwriter Mark Olson has been involved with musical instruments since the age of twelve and is self -taught for the most part and uses alternate tunings and two-part unison singing followed then by breaking off into harmony in his writing and live performances.
His new album ‘Spokeswoman Of The Bright’ was written with with his Norwegian wife and musical partner Ingunn Ringvold. Their previous album, ‘Good Bye Lizelle’, was a critically acclaimed alternative country/americana masterpiece and it set the stage for their current collaboration, ‘Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun’, a dual effort that finds Olson taking top billing. It’s clear that both he and Ringvold took equal roles in the album’s conception and creation, in the songwriting and in the execution; he sings and plays guitars and dulcimer, she adds vocals, melotron, chamberlin and a qanon (a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument).
“Our album was recorded during a Joshua tree summer basically inside our cabin/home but sometimes outside on the porch", says mark, "it was warm and I was making a lot of strange ice teas, brewing recipes that came from an herb book I had bought at the local thrift store. We went right from writing, to rehearsal to recording in the May, June and July time period and I think that is the secret to making a unique album, keeping the momentum of the writing and part learning of the song as you move towards to final takes. The recording sessions with Danny Frankel (drums) took place in the morning before the mojave heat was on. Danny lives near by and has developed his own language via his beat communiques (a type of tambourine esperanto). We were able to go back over some of the grooves and try different approaches and some of the songs just worked on the first couple of takes.”
Ingunn Ringvold, comes from Norway, and she has been singing from an early age with a voice that is one of natural beauty. “Composing and arranging for ‘Spokeswoman of the Bright Sun’ was one of the most joyful experiences of my recording career." Ingunn recalls, "I'd bought a mellotron from Stockholm that I was very excited about, every different string arrangement was like a different colour in an impressionistic painting, I was able to incorporate from my musical heritage, the hymns and the folk songs of my grandmother, to my own style of minor and major walking hand in hand. “
Their combined efforts give the album a quaint, chamber pop feel, a sound akin to the band Love, the Left Banke, and other outfits of the era prone to bask on the very fringe of flowery '60s psychedelia. This is music that will speak to you about things that have happened! An album that sounds like you are alone in the desert all by yourself. Remembering childhood experiences and musical instruments and all the joy that took place.