Review John Apice
Mark Olson & Ingunn Ringvold – Magdalen Accepts the Invitation
This is the 3rd collaboration of the husband-wife team of former Jayhawks’ Mark Olson & Norway’s multi-instrumentalist Ingunn Ringvold. The 10-track Magdalen Accepts the Invitation (Fiesta Red Records) – drops June 5.
The LP explores their adventures, experiences with nature, & visits interesting places. Many songs set in a modal sense of the distance between notes & harmony will be for some a little taxing for others a unique musical journey. The tunes are not written in a commercial sense, nothing is cut & dry or simplistic. These are musicians who attempt to convey their sense of reality with an emphasis through music & by way of sophisticated involvement. Whew.
“Excelsior Park,” takes place at an old amusement park & is compelling yet not quite as stinging as Golden-Carrillo’s “Fire in New Town” with its intricate counter-vocalizing (Fire in New Town LP). Perhaps Annie Golden’s soaring vocals & Broadway experience is her advantage. But Olson & Ringvold has acute inspiration & spirit in abundance. The song, well-written & performed finds their voices mingling nicely like ice cream & chocolate syrup.
Even better is their dynamic in “Christina Hi!” While some lyrics lean toward the hippie-poetry of the Woodstock era they don’t descend into nostalgia or silliness. Together, they wisely keep the music/arrangements at a high, enduring level. Fortunately, their lyrics aren’t too vague.
Escape from reality, live in your imagination is the point of “April In Your Cloud Garden,” & “Silent Mary” are mindful of the 1969 husband-wife group Fat City. Bill Danoff & Taffy Nivert later went on to commercial success & wrote hits for John Denver.
If a pair of ears are looking for fiery solos & foot-stomping music this is not the place. But if it’s captivating songs with a strain of seriousness, a potpourri of adventure worn with a sweeping gown of melody is – this is the place.
“Children of the Streetcar,” is sprightly in the tradition of the Mamas & the Papas, Spanky & Our Gang & Richard & Mimi Farina. So, while some tunes maybe a walk down a nostalgic path of style – the songs are fresh & invigorating with a positiveness not often heard today. One thing is for certain – it’s not sugary sweet cereal. Olson & Ingunn maintains a balance of pensive, stirring moments.
Minnesota’s Olson (acoustic/electric guitars/Spring Tree & Dulcimer) is predominantly a self-taught musician familiar with alternate tunings & 2-part unison vocalizing blended into harmony. Ingunn, from Norway, (Mellotron/Chamberlain/tambourine & Qanon) writes the string arrangements.
Other musicians include Lewis Keller (bass/drums), Danny Frankel (percussion), Alexander Lindback (drums on “You’ll Find the Morning”), & Ruben Pozo (Electric Guitar on “April in Your Cloud Garden”).
At best the CD is relaxing & delivers 36 minutes of peace in a topsy-turvy world. It did for me.
Produced by Mark Olson is available at Bandcamp & their website: https://markolsonmusic.com/