Why not invite your favourite independent musician to play for your friends family and his fans in your front room, I’ll be surprised if he/she won’t show up sometime this year and play for you, let me know about it and if The Medicine Show Radio Moose Mobile is loose is near enough we’ll come and broadcast it too. If you would like to help keep the wheels on the Hub and on The Moose become a patron at
Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Nobody taps into the old mountain music in quite the way that Mark Lucas manages; following directly on from the style he displayed on 2010’s Dust, this new album launches you straight into a world of raw fiddle, sweet dobro and Mark’s distinctive growl, full of hints at dark doings. Fans of old-time mountain music will recognise the sounds he makes, but there’s a bit of a twist. Mostly he sounds like he’s steeped in the world of the mountain hollows, where nothing much has changed for centuries. It really seems like he’s not much engaged with the world beyond the mountains, but there’s breadth in the musical influences that creep in around the edges and give the game away a bit. A touch of Tom Waits on the wondrously bruised and world-weary The Price, and something of Tony Joe White in the swampy treatment given to Big Bad Love are two examples of more modern sounds that he fuses with the foot-stomping rawness that could be an alternative soundtrack for Deliverance.
Weaving true tales with myth-making old and new (the title track is a localised version of the old Greek myth, Orpheus and Euridice) Mark Lucas’s songs deal in the rawness of life, the loving, drinking and dying that goes on, with the devil ever in close attendance. There is a danger that he could be stereotyping mountain life in a way that panders to urbanites self-image of sophistication and rationality, but his combination of raw immediacy and dark humour maybe connects with people who walk city streets and makes them aware that these themes aren’t so far from their own lives. Whilst many of these songs could be placed at any time in the last century or so, references in Pick Up and Trouble in particular make it very clear that we’re in the twenty-first century here, in the world of mobile phones and crack dens – and that the same dark vibes lurk around the corner.
It’s compelling stuff, even better than Dust I believe. He’s back with some of the players from the previous album, and they all have distinctive styles that contribute strongly to the raw, spooky atmosphere. I love the playing from Bleu Mortensen on dobro/pedal steel and Wanda Vick on banjo and mandolin, but it’s Jenee Fleenor’s fiddle playing that really catches the ear. I’m not saying that she’s made the pact with the devil, but she’s got something really special going on there as she drives many of the songs along and provides the instrumental voice that seems to come from some unearthly place.
Add a Comment