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01 Rose Society 3:10

Mark Olson & Gary Louris

@ The Annandale Hotel, Sydney, 21 May 2009

"The first time I heard Olson & Louris sing together was in the newly formed Jayhawks. They were playing the 400 Bar in Minneapolis’ West Bank bohemian area, formerly a venue for solo & duo blues and R&B performers. They might’ve been the first band to play there with a full drum kit, and what made them more interesting was that they were doing Woody Guthrie and hard core country tunes to an audience of younger kids more at home over in Uptown, where the post-punk rock bands reigned—they must’ve thought they were hearing R&R. “We played it loud and fast,” Louris recalled. “And kind of snuck it in.” They mixed covers with rootsy, but quirky originals, cut a local album on their own Bunkhouse label, and went on to a mixed mainstream fame. “We worked hard, got our big break, we went out to LA to make a record,” Olson says. “We all kind of loved acoustic music and wanted to record some, but boy—they didn’t want to hear about that.” Now some twenty-plus years later, the duo has made a largely acoustic album that has all original material and a fine vocal blend that makes you think of old-timey and bluegrass brother teams like The Monroes, The Delmores, and The Louvins—they’ve got that intuitive ear for blending and weaving that exists on some genetic level. They’re part of that DNA loop that started back with The Carter Family and has been winding down musical trails since early last century. Add in some English folk finger picking influence by guys like Roy Harper and John Renbourn, stir in some current-day surrealist points of view a la Dylan, and you’re on the way to where the album resides." Tony Glover, June 2008 [excerpt]