Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jim Olsen's ears

If you own a title or two from the Signature Sounds label, or you've attended one of the great Green River Festivals in Greenfield MA, or you've tuned in on a Saturday morning to The River (93.9 FM in Northampton, 101.5 in Brattleboro VT), then you know something about the great musical taste of Jim Olsen.

Olsen is co-founder of Signature Sounds, producer of the Green River Festival and a longtime DJ on WRSI, aka, The River, in Western Mass. He has recorded and released albums by some great artists, several of whom, have begun their careers on his label, and gone on to much wider recognition.

It will be a vindication, and probably a bit frustrating, to read two of the main articles in the latest (September) issue of No Depression magazine. Featured are two artists, Lori McKenna and Josh Ritter, who began their careers with Signature Sounds, and have now reached national audiences on bigger labels. For some reason, No Depression did not feature these artists when they were Signature up and comers, but now they're getting the star treatment. I'd suggest to No Depression, and to anyone who is interested in great music, to check some of the other gifted artists on Olsen's label. Without effort I can think of Eilen Jewell, Richard Shindell, Jeffrey Foucault, Mark Erelli, Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, the Winterpills, Erin McKeown and Kris Delmhorst.

BTW, the "Jimmy Olsen" in Dar Williams tribute to late night indy radio in the song "Are You Out There?" is this Jim Olsen.

If Jim Olsen likes it, chance are I will too.

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