FAME Review: Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne - I Line my Days Along your Weight
Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne - I Line my Days Along your Weight

I Line my Days Along your Weight

Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne

Important Records - IMPREC408

No online purchase resource found at the time of posting this review. Check the Important Records web site after the Oct. 14, 2014 release date.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Probably the only recent work I'll be able to reference to this orthodoxly unusual duet CD is Chris & Gileah's impressive and beautiful eponymous debut (here), although Nicki Schrire's name pops to mind as well. The cover art to I Line my Days Along your Weight seems to indicate a 4AD release, but though this is decidedly not 4AD material neither is it being deceptive, as there's more than a little of the depth and elder virtues the famed label was always dependable for. In diving into the CD, I was nervous that the rest of the disc mightn't be able to match the visual inferences nor the purity and integrity of the first two cuts, but the more I listened, the more I became entranced.

The bulk of the vocals are tackled by Mary Byrne, but she also plays guitar and piano while Mark Rogers totes the salient duties in the CD's instrumentation. As with the Schrire quality and temperament so noticeable in Byrne's singing, I was more than once also reminded of Steve Dawson and Colin Linden in Roger's fretworkings but…well, there enters an unnameable radiance shimmering out from his repeated chords and fingerpickings as well. I'd cite Jansch, Renbourne, and Martyn, but what Rogers is doing is beyond that. Then Green Gold Violet arose as an absolutely riveting example in the virtues of both participants a la a darker Bruce Cockburn perhaps at his moodiest.

I used the phrase 'orthodoxly unusual'. This may seem to require explanation, but I think I'll instead say the seeming incongruity is explained in the fact that, in listening, one recognizes all the signals and traditions of the genre but is simultaneously struck by the originality and aesthetic timbre of what's occurring, a harking back to when The Village in the 60s was at its most refined while mutiplicitly searching new horizons just before everything gave way to protest songs. As with a good deal of later generations' reworkings, adaptations, and acquired influences, much is added to the firm and hoary elder structure in a renewed understanding of what had become a bit neglected as time wore past the old days, decade by decade…now restored.

Oh, and the label Rogers & Byrne are on, the Important Records imprint? It also hosts Nels Cline, Jim Jarmusch, Anthony Braxton, and other high-profile cult names, home to quite a few impressive artists…and when you lay an ear to I Line my Days Along your Weight, you'll understand why Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne were invited in.

Track List:

  • First Fall Nights
  • Hospital
  • When your Elders are Tall
  • A Racing Heart
  • Green God Violet
  • A Gracious Host
  • Walk with Me
  • Cold Spring
  • Sirens Call
  • Sing a Fare Thee Well
All songs written by Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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