Mark Graham - Inner Life

Inner Life

Mark Graham

Mark Graham
4922 46th S.,
Seattle, WA 98118

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Allen Price
(al@squirrelheads.com)

There are few writers out there who possess the wit, humor and insight of Mark Graham. This fact is not lost on the Austin Lounge Lizards, who have recorded a number of Mark's tunes over the years. He sees the world with a smirk and a roll of the eyes, as evidenced with tunes like No Democracy In Heaven. His tunes in the past have covered topics as unusual as Oedipus Rex.

But Mark Graham is not a novelty tune guy. His tunes often carry a serious message, such as Mr. Zero. His music carries a wide range of topics, most of which are heretofore unwritten in musical form. He retells the story of Moby Dick with a country/old-time melody and a web address at the end of the song. Rockin In A Weary Land tells the story of an aging man who clings to his youth. The common thread is Graham's unique perspective on all things real and ridiculous.

With Inner Life, Graham is joined by longtime Bad Liver's Danny Barnes, as well as longtime musical cohort Orville Johnson. In addition to his singing, Graham also offers some fine blues harmonica playing. Orville Johnson's production offers a properly simple and straightforward backdrop to Graham's songs, keeping the focus on the lyrics. At first, I found it curious that no lyric sheet was provided with the album. But then I got it. He wants us to listen.

Today's musical world is cluttered with songs that all sound alike and say the same thing. And then, there's Mark Graham. Listen.

Selections

  • Inner Life
  • No Democracy in Heaven
  • Half Shaved (Trad., arr. by Mark Graham)
  • Mr. Zero
  • Lumpy, Beanpole and Dirt (Mark Graham, Danny Barnes)
  • Moby Dick
  • Song of the Steelhead
  • Blue Adder
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our Brain
  • Big Tongue
  • Rockin In A Weary Land
  • Poor Folks
  • Prodigal Son (PD, arr. by Mark Graham)
(all songs written by Mark Graham, unless otherwise noted)

Musicians

Mark Graham: Vocal, harmonica, clarinet
Orville Johnson: Vocal, slide guitar, Dobro, mandolin, electric guitar, bass drum, washboard
Danny Barnes: Vocal, five string banjo, tenor banjo, guitar, bass harmonica
Will Dowd: Samples and programming
David Lange: Piano, accordion, celeste

Edited by David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2001, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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