Mark Olson carries a torch for Ane Brun

Mark Olson of The Jayhawks and Ane Brun

Mark Olson and Ane Brun

Mark Olson’s recommendation: “I really like the music of the Norwegian {singer/songwriter} Ane Brun. She is Nick Drake meets Country, meets Jazz meets Bjork. Her album Changing of the Seasons is the one I have listened to the most. I think she is on tour with Ani DiFranco now. Her band is cool too! She features a violin, a background singer and a drummer and bass player who create a rolling hypnotic sound. Highly recommended. Ingunn {Ringvold} played her for me and we both enjoy her songs. There is something Nordic and intense about her music, of course!”

Mark OlsonAbout our guest author, Mark Olson: Mark is the founder and principal singer/songwriter of The Jayhawks, the legendary Americana group from Minneapolis. It takes an artist of great courage to leave a group after their most popular record, (in this case, it was The Jayhawk’s Tomorrow The Green Grass), but that is just what Olson did in 1995. Since The Jayhawks, Mark formed The Creekdippers, released a record with co-Jayhawk Gary Louris and launched his solo career. His latest effort, Many Colored Kite burns bright with optimism. “I put everything I had into this one,” Olson says of the record. “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.” Check his upcoming tour dates here and be sure to check Mark Sasso’s recommendation of The Jayhawks here on Rocktorch.com.

MP3: Little Bird of Freedom by Mark Olson


Mark Sasso of Elliott BROOD carries a torch for The Jayhawks

Mark Sasso of Elliot Brood and The Jayhawks

Mark Sasso and The Jayhawks

Mark Sasso’s recommendation: “A slew of bands flood into my head when I think about which band or artist have had a profound influence on me. They can range anywhere from Neil Young to Simon and Garfunkel, The Rolling Stones and The Band to present day groups like Grant Lee Buffalo, Richard Buckner, The Weakerthans, Wilco and lately Blitzen Trapper, Damien Jurado and the Avett Brothers. But one band that I feel inspired me early in my teenage years and never really seemed to get the acclaim or main stream attention they rightly deserved was The Jayhawks. The band excelled at great song writing and are one of my all time favorites. They were at their best with the song writing duo of Gary Louris and Mark Olson. Olson and Louris had a way of allowing their charm and brilliance to bleed right into their songs. Their distinctive singing style is a trademark all their own, that coupled with their soulful melodies is pure gold.”

New to The Jayhawks? Mark recommends you start here: “On Tomorrow Green Grass, their second album with American Records (their fourth studio album). This collection of songs blew me away from the first listen. I spent one summer devouring it daily and petty soon that tuned into a year. Its that special type of album that grows older with you. Still one of my all time favorites and definitely worth the listen. Best enjoyed on sunny afternoons lounging by the beach or during a car ride to the cottage and finally sitting by the campfire at the end of the day.”

Mark’s track picks are:
“Blue”
“Over my shoulder”
“See him on the Street”"

Mark SassoAbout the guest author, Mark Sasso: Sasso is the lead singer and guitarist for the alt-country/traditional outfit, Elliot BROOD (explanation of the band name here). The band’s 2005 release, Ambassador was nominated for a Juno award and their high energy show helped them secure gigs alongside the likes of Wilco and Calexico. Their 2008 release, Mountain Meadows was also nominated for 2 Juno awards was and short listed for the 2009 Polaris Prize. Canada and Europe…be sure to check their upcoming tour dates on the official Elliott BROOD website.