Michael Olson

Long Arm of Love

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Michael Olson seemed destined to inherit the Christian adult contemporary crown that Steven Curtis Chapman relinquished by 2005, the year of Olson's debut release on Rocketown Records. He possessed a formidable tenor, a knack for writing acoustic pop gems, even the wispy blond hair. And unilateral songs such as "I Believe in Jesus" and "New Every Morning" could easily be mistaken for vintage Chapman. Fortunately for his fans, Long Arm of Love balances lighter leanings with an assortment of strong pop fare that dabbles in acoustic funk, drum loops. and blues-rock. Think Andrew Peterson meets early-career Jars of Clay, with the makings of Matt Redman and Michael W. Smith thrown in for good measure. Olson plays guitar, piano and drums on various tracks, which makes it sound more cohesive than it might be from just a singer/songwriter and his backing band. Plus, the youthful vigor in his tone brings life to lyrics that come across a bit innocent at times. One wonders how he "paid the price and learned [his] lesson" as described in the title track. But overall, Love was an impressive debut that held Olson up to high expectations for the remainder of his career.

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