Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
What a fantastic writer! These songs are as good as any of the “so called” hits out in the atmosphere. These songs are so well written that listening to the songs makes me shake my head in partial disbelief. Disbelief no longer. I had the opportunity to meet Mark in May at The Typical Johnsons record release party and I can say that Mark’s live performances are even more energetic than than the recordings. Mark leaves everything up on stage when he is done. One of the best performers I have seen in ages.
Did I mention that Mark is also a super nice guy in addition to being a tremendous talent? Not just a nice guy, but a friend. When we met in person for the first time, it was as if Mark and I knew each other for years. That is how accommodating Mark is. I root for the good guys are Mark fits into that category.
Let’s get to Pride In This Name, a six song EP that Mark put out about a month ago. These songs are what I would say as a little bit traditional country and Celtic, and the remainder is good ole’ rock and roll. The songs are framed in a traditional way, but these songs are modern and as fresh as the Colorado air.
If there was a song on here that could be better than a Jason Isbell original, would you believe me? Well, you should because the song Rose Colored Laughter (Track 3) would give any Jason Isbell song a run for its money. I include Uniform in that category. I know that is a challenging statement, but I believe in this song.
I believe in all the songs. I also strongly believe in Ode To McKennedy (Track 2). This song is steeped in Celtic tradition and American Red Dirt. This is just a brilliant song and really conjures up memories of Isis by Bob Dylan. Just a bit, but this song is a pure original. The guitar parts in this song are quite brilliant. They are clean and to the point, but very powerful.
I know Mark is a friend, but Mark’s album is great whether we are friends or not. I could never review something I don’t like. I have integrity (sometimes). And so does Mark (all of the time). So get yerself a copy of this brilliant EP. This will become one of the cornerstones of your musical collection.