Mark Cole – Cole | Album Review

Mark Cole – Cole

Rawtone Records

11 songs time-50:02

United Kingdom native Mark Cole has quite a band resume leading up to this his first solo release of all original songs. He performs with The Dockery Boys, Sons Of The Delta, The Jigantics and Brothers And Sons. Here he sings, plays all the stringed instruments, harmonica and occasional percussion. The approach here is less is more. His less is more than most musician’s more. His mastery is displayed on electric and acoustic guitars, lap steel and banjo. The major thrust is blues mixed up with a rootsy sound. This guy sure knows his way around a sturdy groove along with a strong lyrical content.

The first thing that jumps out at you from the first track “Solitary” is his commanding voice dripping with compassion. The guitar riff draws you in from the git-go as the narrator speaks on his need for occasional space to himself in a relationship. The distorted guitar on “Desiccate Me Baby” comes right from The Hill Country Blues vein. Harmonica and drums drive it home. Things slow down on the rootsy and smooth “Love Will Make You Blind”. “Bon Toy Boy” is greasy boogie at its best accompanied solely by what sounds like foot tapping.

The slow, stark, moody and riveting “Let Me Down” uses spare drums and “bones” for percussion while banjo and haunting harmonica complete the quirky atmospherics of “Let Me Down”, a song that was a runner-up in the International Songwriting Competition. A moving tale of world wide flood disasters, “Water Will Rise”, utilizes Mark’s wicked lap steel skills and kalimba(thumb piano). Your guess is as good as mine as to what “Misprint Formica” is about other than table tops. It has an intriguing Eastern music vibe to it.

“Honeyslide”, a song about a certain part of the female anatomy is about as close you can get to single entendre. I’m not exactly sure what the Mexican flavored “Banus Rain” is about, but there is a region in Spain called Puerto Banus. It’s a lovely, melancholy and moody piece that includes a beautiful slide guitar solo over the acoustic guitar. The rustic “Out On A Saturday Night” is straight out of the Hill Country Blues playbook of artists such as R.L. Burnside and Jr. Kimbrough. Wicked lap steel and a spare drum sound. The moody and deliberate breakup song “Had Our Day” wraps things up with distorted electric guitar and moaning harmonica.

This is a well conceived and executed slice of blues and roots music. No cluttered production, Mark has an uncanny sense of what every song requires. Everything here just drips with a heart felt compassion for the music. You need this CD, trust me.

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