Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Music rebel downsizes career.(Music)

Byline: Leanne Potts JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Simple desert lifestyle results in smaller, more-intimate songs

It's been five years since Mark Olson quit the up-and-coming alt-country band the Jayhawks to start a new life in the California desert with his wife, acclaimed singer/songwriter Victoria Williams.

In that time, the man who is to alt-country what Hank Williams is to traditional twang fell off the face of the Earth, commercially speaking. Unable to get a record deal as a solo artist, Olson had to sell his solo CDs by mail order, and the only shows he played were as a backup musician for his more famous wife.

He was even forced to get a day job the ultimate degradation for a creative sort. Until this year Olson worked as an assistant special ed teacher in his local public school system.

It's been humbling for a man who, as a Jayhawk, is credited with helping to create the slacker twang sound of alt-country in the mid-1980s also known as y'allternative. …

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