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Mark Olson & the Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers

My Own Jo Ellen – 2000 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Mark Olson & the Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers

After three self-released albums, Mark Olson's label debut is wonderful and joyous to experience. These 10 timeless songs from the former Jayhawk are gentle and melodic, full of life and hopefulness.

Quite simply, it's a great happy album one that makes you ache for a simple life filled with Walt Whitman and front porches and tea and a lack of worry about how corny all that might be. From the blue-eyed soul of "Letter from Africa" to the folky jangle of "Ben Johnson's Creek," Olson and the Dippers (including wife Victoria Williams and Mike "Razz" Russell) have you hooked on their musical vision. Not a single bad track, but standouts include "Linda Lee," "Rainbow of Your Heart" and the title-track, a touching tribute to Olson's grandmother.

An album worthy of a prediction: this will go down as one of the best albums of 2000.