Mark Olson & Gary Louris - Bicycle

Artist: Mark Olson & Gary Louris

Song: Bicycle

Album: Ready For The Flood  (2009)

Great new album from legendary members of The Jayhawks. It's so great to hear these two on the same CD again, they were born to sing together.

Maybe "Bicycle" is the best bicycle song for some years. Someone knows the lyrics?

Although they've toured together and renewed their friendship, this is the first recording by Olson and Louris since Olson left the Jayhawks in 1995. What would become READY FOR THE FLOOD was recorded at Sage & Sound Studios in Hollywood with friend Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes. Louris had called in Robinson, who happened to be in town at that point, for vibe support and he ended up producing the album; he also appears on the album playing harmonica and contributing backing vocals.

READY FOR THE FLOOD captures the stripped down, fingerpicked guitar playing and Laurel Canyon sound of an earlier time, with allusions to English folk Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Renbourne, whom both Mark and Gary had both been getting into independently and a simpler, live recording technique where capturing the right vibe was as important as the sound. It s an album that only two career musicians and friends could make organic, intuitive and loosely confident, heartfelt and moving, echoing with the combined experience of two kindred spirits reuniting to do what they do and love best. (Amazon)

Ready for the Flood, produced by Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), not only reunites the two old friends but also their unrivaled harmonies and songwriting skills, reviving their unique sound. The results of the reunion are undeniable, as can be read in early praise for the album: “These new memories—thank the Americana gods—are riddled with Louris and Olson’s past, but there are hints of even older musical moments. . .The production of Black Crowe Chris Robinson lends grit, but is never intrusive, letting the scruffy melodies and jigsaw-puzzle interlocking of these stellar voices do the heavy lifting.” (PASTE MAGAZINE)


About “Bicycle” 

A ramshackle introduction with a big, bright chorus. Louris’s vocals have a very rough edge(perhaps from too many cigarettes), but the harmonies are excellent.

It’s hard to ride at night
on your bicycle with no lights to guide
just take a chance and ride
on your bicycle with no lights to guide

The imagery matches well with the uplifting chorus. Complete review


"Bicycle"  travels a Dylan path, but Robinson's invisible country-twang influence can be heard in this storyline song. Complete review


…It continues on “Bicycle”—no longer a child’s toy, now the only affordable vehicle in tough times—“It’s hard to ride at nights with no lights to guide”—but of course, it’s all a metaphor.

Frequently, Mark would come up with an initial lyric idea, Gary would feed off that, bounce back with more to

Mark, and a song would grow from their urgent interplay… Complete review


“My favorite track on the new record is “Bicycle.” Can you shed some light on that song in particular? What inspired it and when was it written?

Mark Olson: It was written in Gary’s garage during our session there. The song is about what it is like to be dependent on bicycle transportation in America where everything is geared towards the car, and how that feels to be riding when you probably ought to be driving. interview



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