Ready for the Flood
I too was lucky enough to see (and talk to) Gary and Mark here in Central Kentucky (Lexington to be precise). They were playing the Christ the King Oktoberfest celebration in the early fall. I know a Catholic fund raising event may not be the glory days of old, but it was a tremendous, very intimate set under a mid-size outdoor tent with many fans in toe (whom, like my wife and I had grown a bit older and had some children to bring along to introduce to music that inspired their parents). Mark and Gary had just driven up from Nashville to play (and were heading straight back after the show).
Mark told me they had a new CD ready and I was totally excited as somehow it slipped past me. Due to whatever reasons, the CD is not slated for a US release until 2009 (the last I heard in February). After a few delays with the UK release date, it finally arrived. There was no way I could wait for the US release to come out after hearing over half of the songs performed live.
Let me tell you - it does NOT disappoint in any way. I asked Gary when I talked to him at the show if he would be electric on it, and he mentioned just a bit. I was just a tad disappointed, as - like I told Gary - he is one of my favorite Electric guitar players. Well, electric or no - if you have any interest in Hollywood Town Hall or Tomorrow The Green Grass era Jayhawks, you will love this record.
It is subdued - almost hushed in a way. Like Gary's solo effort, Vagabonds, this record was produced by Chris Robinson (of Black Crows fame). Aptly produced. Subtle, yet powerful. Stark yet bold.
The stand out cuts on first listen (second listen for me as I had already experienced them live) are:
1. Bicycle (which has to include just a small nod to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah")
2. Turn Your Pretty Name Around (which, at the show Gary introduced as having the "saddest opening line of any song ever"
3. Saturday Morning on Sunday Street
4. Kick the Wood (which they both poked at live being a "silly song")
6. Doves and Stones (which to me is a flashback to Mark's best work on Hollywood Town Hall)
I got the impression when talking to the both at the show that there would be no band, but there are 5 additional players listed (Bass, Drums, Hammond B-3, and Banjo). Chris Robinson is listed in the credits as offering up harmonica and backing vocals.
This reviewer would just like to close with a plea to Mark and Gary - You are like a puzzle that fits perfectly together. For your next effort (there just has to be one) let's plug 'er in and have some more fun. I know from the way you two came off after the show fully excited and pumped, you know it is still great FUN!
Frankfort, KY USA