New Music – Old Friend – Mark Erelli
When I learned yesterday that Mark Erelli’s 8th studio album Little Vigils was available for digital download at Amazon, and itunes and other locations, I quickly went and picked it up. I have been a fan of the Boston area Erelli since I picked up his debut self-titled CD many years ago. His albums are always a treat and contain a ton of great songs. One of my early song favorites was “Do It Everyday” from that debut album and I was disappointed when he didn’t play it the only time I ever saw him live. But I do have an autograph in an album that says I owe you a “Do It Everyday”! But each album from Compass and Companion to Delivered is a little different. His last two albums Hope and Other Casualties and Delivered are both a little more political and contain many heartfelt and moving songs. Like “Volunteers” from Delivered and this one “The Only Way” from Hope and Other Casualties. Ellis Paul and Vance Gilbert covered this song nicely on their Side of the Road CD.
But now back to Mark’s new album Little Vigils. The one thing that I noticed about this album is that Mark has created n album where the songs all create a different mood from the somberness of “Everything in Ruin” and “Hemlock Grove” with the solo banjo opening, to the light happy mood of “Basement Days”. Mark has a Master’s degree in Evolutionary Biology and from his website:
six months before going into the studio for the recording of this album, Erelli was one of eight artists invited to the UK to take part in a collaborative songwriting project celebrating the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species, called the Darwin Song Project. “I really identified with Darwin’s sense of awe in nature, and how it was bound up with his questions about spirituality, like two sides of the same coin,” says Erelli. You can hear this fusion of scientific detail and spiritual yearning in Kingdom Come, which begins by evoking Darwin’s finely wrought description of the lifecycle of a parasitic wasp: “It kills its host then off it goes, to sting another one, seems to me there’s too much misery to believe in Kingdom Come.”
Two of the songs from that project appear on Little Vigils “Kingdom Come” and this one “Mother of Mysteries”.
Mark has included notes about the songs at his website. Overall, I think the new album is wonderful and if you’ve never heard Mark Erelli give him a try you won’t be disappointed!