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John Olson's last big project: 'Olsonville' includes bittersweet musical farewell

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By Rick Kupchella

As a companion piece to the story I wrote about the life & times of my long time friend John Olson, the creative ad genius who passed away at his home in Excelsior, September 7th… I wanted to add a few words about his music endeavors.

At several points in his life John worked as a full time musician. He’s traveled much of the country in this fashion.

John Olson, in a recording studio in Nashville (photos by Rick Kupchella)

And since his diagnosis – throughout much of the last year – John has been focused on the release of several creative pursuits. The most significant among them was a new album he called “OLSONVILLE: NEW AMERICANA”.

Recording crew at work on the album in Nashville

A small group of his non-musician friends including Greg Heinemann, Dan Young, Tim Peters and myself all flew down to Nashville to spend time with him during the recording sessions last Fall.

He sure did it up – renting space out of Blackbird Studios – owned by John McBride (husband of Martina McBride). Among the artists who’ve recorded there are Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Taylor Swift, KE$HA, R.E.M., Black Eyed Peas… you get the idea.

Another friend of ours and occasional band-mate of Johnny’s is Tommy Barbarella. Tommy toured with Prince for a decade... and told me recently that Blackbird is the greatest studio he’s ever recorded in.

Johnny did very little – maybe nothing – ‘small’.

Many of his closest friends would tell you that a lot of his “goodbye” was baked into that album. Particularly with one track called Butterfly Net, which you can hear below.

You can find the album at iTunes. Or here at Amazon. And you can learn more about the project and other songs on that CD by visiting the Olsonville Fanpage on Facebook.

Butterfly Net:

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