Minnesota based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist J Francis Olson has been writing songs since the mid-‘70s when he learned to play guitar. Since that time Olson has played in a variety of bands, both steeped in rock and punk rock. Though Olson also has a deep affinity of the history of blues music and has chilled out quite a bit and these days writes songs in the vein of acoustic bluegrass twang.
Olson has been in and around studios helping other musicians make records for quite a long time now. And now that he has finally decided to make his own album, it is no surprise that the recording quality is second to none.
Olson’s debut recording One Long Tomorrow contains texturally rich effects like the string section that quietly creeps its way into the storytelling acoustic ballad of “Firefly.” The strings take on a different tone, that of a slow, honky-tonk style fiddling on the loving lament “No Way Around It” on which Olson comes clean about two people in a relationship not being able to function without one another.
Here One Long Tomorrow would have become boring had it not changed course a bit with the slightly harder edged “Idea” which helps diversify the sound of Olson’s portfolio a bit with its spritely organ and lush backing vocals from Sarah Richardson. The rock picks up even more on the upbeat alt-country “Merlot” with its pedal steel guitar plucks and steady rocking drums, it wakes up One Long Tomorrow precisely when it was about to fall asleep for good. Furthermore the track “(She Makes It) So Easy” is a head bobbing easy-going piece of Americana that is hard not to like that features Shannon Frid-Ruben from Cloud Cult. Shannon Frid-Ruben also makes an appearance on the exceptional neoclassical instrumental "Etude 27".
From this point on however One Long Tomorrow begins to digress again, moving back into the album’s familiar territory of slow, broken-heart-themed songs adrift in a sea of slow and simple song structures. However these last two tracks are fuller and more realized than the previous offerings. “Maybe” is a straight-up look back at that past and also a look inside of oneself and the final track “One Long Tomorrow” unravels slowly and is beefed up by organ, trumpet and flϋgel horn.
One Long Tomorrow is evidence that J Francis Olson is a gifted musician who has the privilege of having other gifted musicians play on his album. It is also clear from the production quality that the man knows how to make the music sound clean and professional. There are a few screws and bolts of arrangement and song diversity that could be tightened up though. Overall though fans of late period Dylan and Neil Young would really enjoy what J Francis Olson is working so hard to accomplish. And though One Long Tomorrow isn’t quite there quite yet, Olson is definitely on the right track.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook