All Music Guide –
Between his work with the Jayhawks and his solo career, Mark Olson has shown the world that he’s a fine singer and a gifted songwriter who is not afraid to bare his soul and explore both the concrete and spiritual sides of his life. But with his third solo effort, Good-bye Lizelle, Olson reveals a new facet of his musical personality as he experiments with world music. Good-bye Lizelle was recorded while Olson and his primary accompanist and spouse Ingunn Ringvold traveled around the globe, dashing from America to Norway, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Armenia, and many points in between, as Olson and Ringvold laid down tracks with local musicians en route using Olson’s portable recording rig. “Say You Are the River” is Olson’s own version of a raga, and “Lizelle Djan,” “Running Circles,” “Which World Is Ours?,” and “Jesse in an Old World” all reflect the influences of modality and the circular melodic patterns that inform Indian music. Olson also works in more familiar forms on Good-bye Lizelle, and he shines bright on the spare and lovely “Cherry Thieves” and “Poison Oleander,” which most recalls the Jayhawks with its fuzzy lead guitar and the splendid harmonies between Olson and Ringvold. Good-bye Lizelle shows that in the wake of Olson’s short-lived reunion with the Jayhawks, he’s eager to explore new musical horizons while remaining a thoughtful and singular American songwriter.