Thursday, July 23, 2009

Come on down from that mountain

Mark Lennon – Down the Mountain (Vagabonds Tune Records – cat No 3683-A)

From the outset of this very short long player, a mere 27minutes and 23 seconds to be exact, you’re left in no doubt this is a country album that airs just on the side of alt and country rock. The opener, Down the mountain, rolls gently on through with accompaniment from hammond, pedal steel and vocal harmonies. We have here in place all the elements of a pretty decent album.

My Home Town bridges that gap between country and alt with Marks no fuss approach to song lyrics, singing honestly about a longing for the tree lined streets of his hometown back in the south. Mark now resides in Los Angeles, a place devoid of any tree-lined streets he would have us believe. But we get the sentiment.

With Wildside Mark moves down a gear and into, I feel his best mode. Leaving the full band behind for a moment, this track sees Mark laid bare, if only for a short while. With vocals from both Mark Lennon and Simone Stevens, a big acoustic guitar, a dash of piano and horns makes up by far the best track on this album. Now, this is no Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris moment, but I will admit there is a certain twang to the combination, but this track is so far removed from both alt-country or country rock. This is fresh. This is simplicity at it’s finest. There is a wise use of space between the two opposing melting and sliding vocal harmonies and a lack (I am please to say) of any drifting and a tad over bearing solos from his fellow band members, which is an all to common reoccurring fault with this album. What I could be with you and I’m doing fine both suffer from the same affliction.

This only goes to show that when Mark’s music is stripped down to its component parts it still functions so perfectly well.
The penultimate track Tennessee and the final track Broken find Mark musically grounded and in full control of his run away band and finally able to show case his obvious talents as a gifted songwriter.

For more information on the music of Mark Lennon or to buy this album visit

Reviewer: DE Powell

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