Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reviews:: Mark Davis Mistakes I Meant to Make

Mark Davis is the type of artist that might struggle his whole life, playing shows for a scattering of devoted fans, but I don't think concerns him much. When a man sits down to write songs with finger picked riffs, I don't think he ever believes he's going to become a household name. In fact, I think Mark writes songs because he needs to get things off his chest before they eat him alive. For Davis, writing songs is a matter of survival.

Davis recently put our a double CD set and each CD represents a different sound and vision. The first - Mistakes I Meant To Make - uses just a guitar, some subtle electronics, occasional horns and a harmonica to accompany his words, and the result is a powerful (albeit bleak) window into a stranger's soul as he battles his own demons. Davis paints a vivid character on this release (though I'd guess parts of these songs are part of him), and that character is a sullen, beaten down man singing about life and how it didn't work out. He lives alone, down on his luck, wondering why she left and if she'll ever come back. The pain is killing him, but you get the suspicion his depression is something he needs to have around.

The songs literally drip with emotion. When he painfully admits that "missing you is just something that I do" on By the Time, his defeat almost runs you over. His lyrics are so real that, much like J Tillman (I really hear the similarities on In On Me, especially when his whistle pierces the silence just like Tillman's Waking Days), he's able to control your ear without any assistance. The clarity of his words and the tone of his voice make you feel like he's pouring out his heart as he pours you both another glass of whiskey. You want to tell him that things will get better, but his pain is more than you've had to deal with. But the way he opens up on this record makes you feel like your ear is the one he needs, and that intimacy is what makes this record so great.

MP3:: By the Time

Davis is playing here in Vancouver on Aug 7th @ the Railway with the Great Outdoors. I'm not sure there is going to be a more honest show all summer.

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Posted at 6:32 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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