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

Author:
Updated:
Original:

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:

Next Up

Mondale

Walter Mondale dies at age of 93

His death was confirmed by family on Monday.

National Guard

Man charged in connection to shooting that injured National Guard troops

Four soldiers were inside a military vehicle that was shot at.

Chauvin trial

Walz declares emergency in Twin Cities, bringing in police from Ohio and Nebraska

The governor has asked the Legislature for emergency funding for the additional police.

derek chauvin court - closing arguments

Closing arguments in Derek Chauvin trial: Here's what was said

The jury listened to lengthy presentations from the prosecution and defense.

helicopter-186718_1280

Man, 55, airlifted to a hospital after hit-and-run in Granite Falls

The passenger in the vehicle told police about the incident.

Minneapolis, unrest

Facebook labels Minneapolis 'high-risk,' will remove posts that incite violence

Facebook will remove posts that call for weapons to be brought to Minneapolis and anything that celebrates George Floyd's death.

MyPillow

After being sued, MyPillow is now suing Dominion Voting Systems

The company's lawsuit claims the voting system suppressed free speech and hurt its business relationships.

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren makes his decision ... and it's Gonzaga

The Minnesota basketball phenom is following the footsteps of Jalen Suggs.

Sarah Glover

MPR News hires NBC's Sarah Glover as new managing editor

The experienced journalist was the first to serve two terms as president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

football play

Watch: Sixth-grader with cerebral palsy makes touchdown in Detroit Lakes

Kale Hannahs' classmates made sure he got a chance to play during recess.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, April 19

The latest from Minnesota health officials.

Related

Rep. John Kriesel bids farewell to colleagues

The first-term lawmaker is leaving the state legislature to lead the Anoka County’s Veterans Services Office. Kriesel was among the retiring legislators to address the Minnesota House following the adjournment of the 2012 session Thursday morning.