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Mark The Hard Earth [CD]

Kris Drever Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (8 Mar 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Navigator Records
  • ASIN: B0031QDKLQ
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,204 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Mark the Hard Earth (Remastered) 4:47£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. This Old Song (Remastered) 3:54£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Shining Star (Remastered) 3:56£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Allegory (Remastered) 3:58£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Wild Hurricane (Remastered) 3:57£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Sweet Honey in the Rock (Remastered) 3:03£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. O'a' the Airts (Remastered) 3:31£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. The Call and the Answer (Remastered) 3:57£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. The Crown of London (Remastered) 4:01£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen10. The Banks of the Nile (Remastered) 4:39£0.69  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Freedom Come A'ye (Remastered) 4:33£0.69  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Fresh from winning a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Group with his ‘day job’ band Lau, this Scottish singer, guitarist and occasional songwriter releases his second solo set.

After a debut as great as 2006’s Black Water almost anything would disappoint. But while Mark the Hard Earth doesn’t quite reach the heights of that record, it is still impressive, and has a strong, slow-growing charm.

Drever has assembled much the same team of players, with Roy Dodds (drums) Ewen Vernal (bass), Donald Shaw (keyboards) and guitarist Ian Carr serving him well, as does fiddler and producer John McCusker. Irish American multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien is the most distinctive new collaborator, adding the sonic equivalent of subtle marker pen highlights to many songs with his mandolin, banjo, ukulele and harmony vocals. Irish singer Heidi Talbot is the other novice, duetting with Drever on The Banks of the Nile, the most familiar piece on a selection which, as before, mixes old and new writing.

Of the latter, Drever has again chosen two songs by Edinburgh songwriter Sandy Wright. Both are sentimental waltzes, although neither is as distinctive as his contributions to Black Water. Boo Hewerdine’s country-gospel flavoured Sweet Honey in the Rock is, though, up to his usual high standard. Best of all is The Crown of London, by Drever’s brother Duncan, a pulsing number with a melody that simply bores into your brain and stays there, along with some great lyrics: “The devil’s made plans for the wealthy man / he’ll never get to me”.

The self-penned title-track is a stark, enigmatic waltz that’s the slowest grower of all, introducing a wintry theme that resurfaces several times. Of the more instantly accessible material, there’s the sprightly, countrified This Old Song, with its tricky tempo changes, and a lovely version of The Call and the Answer, which fans of The Dubliners may know.

Of the traditional pieces, the ballad O’ A’ the Airts has especially fine backing vocals by Talbot, and the closing Freedom Come A’ye matches words by the great Scottish poet Hamish Henderson with the tune of Bloody Fields of Flanders, to strikingly solemn effect.

It’s all quite understated and beautifully played, and any shortcomings in the material are more than made up for by Drever’s peerless singing. This is a very good – as opposed to great – record. --Jon Lusk

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CD Description

As one of folk music's most in-demand performers, finding enough time to record a follow-up to his debut album Black Water was never going to be easy for Kris Drever. A critical and commercial success both here and abroad, Black Water brought Drever to the attention of the BBC Folk Awards who honored him with the Horizon Award for Best Newcomer in 2007, and led him off on a stint of touring and recording that really hasn't stopped since.

Mark The Hard Earth
is a wonderful, well-chosen selection of songs that he has loved and played over recent years alongside new songs written by friends and collaborators including cult Scottish songwriter Sandy Wright (Wild Hurricane, Shining Star), Boo Hewerdine (Sweet Honey In The Rock) and Kris's brother Duncan Drever. Drever made his own debut on LAU's acclaimed Arc Light ( with the song "Wintermoon") and for this album, his self-penned song is the title track.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stake in the Ground 30 Jan 2010
Format:Audio CD
A lot has changed in the world of Kris Drever since he released his debut solo album `Black Water'. The former Fine Friday member, now one third of multi-award winning tour de force LAU, has put out three long players and seen success with other projects, including collaborations with John McCukser & Roddy Woomble, Eamonn Coyne and Heidi Talbot.

`Mark The Hard Earth' opens with the title track, Kris' first self-penned song on a solo record. It sets the benchmark for the album and picks up where `Navigator', the closing track to `Black Water' left off. Similarities in atmosphere to `Black Water' are perhaps not surprising, seeing as most of the key musicians and the producers remain the same.

`This Old Song' with its fluctuating time signatures, ups the tempo and is the nearest thing on the album to anything like `Harvest Gypsies' on `Black Water'. Elsewhere there are songs by Sandy Wright (`Shining Star' and `Wild Hurricane') as well as the fantastic `Sweet Honey In The Rock', composed by Boo Hewerdine & John McCusker.

The album's closing songs are as strong as its openers with `The Crown Of London' written by Kris' brother Duncan, `The Banks Of The Nile' a beautiful duet with Heidi Talbot and the stirring `Freedom Come A'ye' with guest vocals from Karine Polwart.

`Mark The Hard Earth' is not a ground breaking record. Think of it more as proof, were proof needed, that Kris Drever is one of his generation's great artists. It is an album in the proper sense of the word and you should own it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a great album of Gaelic influenced folky music from a man with both a great talent and a great voice.

Drever has a truly beautiful voice that leads us through gentle tales rooted firmly in Scotland. Backed by a sparse production, the whole thing just evokes images in the minds eye of lovers walking across the heather in the swirling mists. It's one of those records that instantly becomes a firm favourite and lodges itself in the CD player. A beautiful piece an at times moving piece of music, 5 stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern folk at its best 19 Mar 2010
Format:Audio CD
Prolific and consistent, Kris Drever deserves a larger audience but while folk music remains far from mainstream this will probably be a forlorn hope. A neat mixture of original and traditional songs this a more rounded album than the first one and has a warm and mellow feel to it even if sometimes the subject matter of the songs wouldn't suggest this. this is one of those albums that you can play quite happily as background music whilst friends are round but eventually you will notice the conversation dying as people stop to actually listen to the album.

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant second solo album 26 Jan 2010
Format:Audio CD
Although he's possibly better known as a member of the successful (and frankly amazing) folk trio Lau, Kris' solo work deserves to be heard by a wider audience, and this new album sees him on fine form yet again.

On his first album "black water" Kris sounded more typically traditional (to me - though I can't claim to be any kind of Folk expert!), but this time there seems to be a slightly more contemporary feeling to the songs and the production by John McCusker is wonderfully clean and spacious, giving the lush arrangements and Kris' effortless vocals chance to shine. Again there are plenty of appearances from friends and fellow musicians with John McCusker lending a hand on fiddle and Karine Polwart and Heidi Talbot providing guest vocals.

If you've recently enjoyed anything that claimed to be "___-folk" (insert your own adjective in the gap, there have been plenty bandied about) it's well worth trying out this album as an entry to the world of more traditional folk. A sublime record, and one that will surely stand up to repeated listening - in short, well worth a try if you're not familiar with him already and an essential purchase if you enjoyed "black water", any of Lau's records or the equally great "Drever/Woomble/McCusker" album!

(Oh and he's brilliant live too, so keep an eye out for him touring either on his own or with one of the many other groups he's involved in!)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Formerly of folk sensation FINE FRIDAY (3 albums) and now very much part of the respected and awarded LAU (3 albums), Scottish born Drever made his stunning solo debut "Black Water" back in 2006 - and I've been hooked on his music ever since.

Drever then followed "Black Water" with the more overtly country almost ragtime "Honky Tonk Suite" with EAMONN COYNE later that same year - and has also done stints with the beautiful Kate Rusby and her band (we're talking class here). With his deft acoustic guitar touches and a deep tonal voice that is the male equivalent of honey dribbling down Rusby's frankly delicious bosom (a sight that would make many clergymen reconsider celibacy), it's hardly surprising that this album is awaited by folk fans with bated breath and chattering teeth. I'm therefore delighted to say and a little relieved to report that after a few listens - it's been worth the wait.

"Mark The Hard Earth" is his 2nd solo album proper and it's being put out on Navigator Records NAVIGATOR 30 (the label is named after a track on "Black Water"). It was produced by long-time collaborator and Scottish fiddle player JOHN McCUSKER and recorded, engineered and mastered with the help of CALUM MALCOLM of Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout and Simple Minds recording fame. With such talent on board, it's hardly surprising that the audio quality is truly gorgeous - beautifully clear without ever being over-produced. The 12-page booklet offers little more than song credits and a few photos, but the card-wrap on the outside of the jewel case lends the whole thing a classy feel (44:21 minutes).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE this man's voice
Music is a subjective beast but I am yet to find a Kris Drever offering that stays out of my stereo long enough to go back on the shelf and he never leaves my MP3 player. Read more
Published 4 months ago by scotty
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb album
Kris is a very talented man and this album reflects that. a wonderful warm voice and excellent musicianship. I play it often
Published 6 months ago by Patrick Crilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark The Hard Earth
Absolutely excellent CD. Fine Crafting of words and music. Would recomend this CD to anyone with an interest in folk music
Published on 13 Feb 2012 by barry.robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars One problem
Bought the album which I love - especially with the addition of Tim O'Brien. It hasn't been off the CD player but I now want to transfer to ipod and my computer will not recognise... Read more
Published on 7 May 2010 by L. Worrell
4.0 out of 5 stars A grand follow up
As one of the few who loved Kris's debut and thinks it's a shame that he wastes his time with Lau, I was delighted to see the final arival of the follow up to Black Water. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2010 by Threefoot
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy on the ears and great to sing along
I love Kris Drevers debut and his work with Lau, so I could't wait for this new album. Great laid back vocals, subtle production ang great material make this one of those "play it... Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2010 by S. C. Heap
5.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Second Album?
So often when you love a debut album from an artist the follow up never quite lives up to expectations. Read more
Published on 12 Jan 2010 by Frederick MacDonald
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