Mark Searcy – My Color
Self-Release – 2018
10 tracks; 54 minutes
Texas-based Mark Searcy played guitar in his teens but stopped altogether to raise a family, only starting to play again as therapy when he injured his hand in a work accident. That rekindled his love of music and he has produced ten albums since 2005, ranging from solo to full band recordings. On this disc he blends electric and acoustic work, aided by quite a large cast of musicians. Mark plays guitar and handles lead vocals with Frank Lisenbee and Louis Real on bass, Carlos Escobedo, Jacob Getzoff and Bugz Garza on percussion and Candice Sanders on BV’s; guests include Van Wilks on guitar, Kenny Grohman on steel guitar, Steve Chase on B3 and Dave Hohmann on sax. All the material was written, arranged and produced by Mark, Frank Lisenbee recording, mixing and co-producing in San Antonio, Texas.
The opening pair of tracks show Mark’s varied repertoire: “Where Does It End?” is blues-rock with heavy riffs, sequencers and a wild solo whereas “Congo Road” is back porch acoustic, just Mark and his resonator, backing vocals and hand percussion. Another change comes with “Legend Of Charlie Jones”, a chugging rocker that recounts a tale of early twentieth century revenge, unfortunately marred by a rather histrionic guitar solo for which plenty of space is available in the extended track. We then get a quieter track “Angel Of Destiny” with pedal steel and B3 adding a country feel before “Moon Lovin’ Woman” bounces in on a jazzy riff, lead guitar duties shared with Van Wilks.
Two good instrumentals mark the mid point of the set: “Mi Amor Por Ti” reflects the title, a gentle trio performance in suitably latin style; “Fruit Cookies” is interesting with jazz flavours in Mark’s guitar work, Dave’s sax, the warm wash of the B3 and Frank’s bubbling bass, the whole bringing back fond memories of artists like Lee Rittenour back in the late 70’s/80’s. These two instrumentals grabbed this reviewer’s attention but neither are blues! “Invincible” offers another change with Frank switching to classical guitar alongside Mark’s electric as Mark reflects on happy musical times when the world was his oyster, Dave adding a breathy sax solo. Two rhythm guitars are credited on “Gotta Get Back To You”, a sure sign of a more upbeat tune and, with Candice’s backing vocals also beefing up the production this is a pleasant and lively song, more pop than blues but attractive. Album closer “Monterey” runs to over 8 minutes, Mark playing both resonator and electric guitars. The guitar work appears to be influenced by Hendrix (think “Little Wing”) while the lyrics reflect a disconnect between modern life and the hopes and dreams we once had: “from Monterey you just watch it burn”, a view further underlined by a spoken word sequence. Just as you are thinking that it’s a moody and depressing end to the album Mark rides in with a very upbeat guitar feature to close the track in impressive style.
There is not much straight blues here but Mark’s vocals work fine and he plays well across several styles.