Mark Erelli at Juna's

What: An Evening of Extraordinary Songs, Stories, and Hooks
When: Saturday, February 2, 2002
Where: Juna's Cafe
the Commons Ithaca, NY
How Much: $6

"Too many singer-songwriters only get half of the equation right. Erelli doesn't have that problem. He matches clever lyrics with catchy hooks... [a] superb sophomore album." --The Washington Post

After sharing the stage at a recent concert, Grammy winner Dave Alvin said with a smile, "If I had a voice like Mark Erelli, I could go places." It's hard to imagine a better testimony to what more and more music lovers are discovering everyday: Mark Erelli is a potent and powerful new voice in American music. In the wake of his self-titled debut's release, critics scrambled to define what was so special about the then 24 year-old new comer. With songs that sounded "fresh yet oddly familiar, like something rediscovered on old 78s found in your grandparents' cellar (Billboard)," Erelli was hailed as "one of the most versatile, tuneful new singer/songwriters (Boston Herald)." Others put his debut on their top-10 lists, where it rubbed shoulders with the likes of Tom Waits, Macy Gray, and Richard Thompson. From coffeehouses to festivals, his intense and vibrant performances converted the uninitiated to believers, and propelled him to the top of his class as a winner of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk contest in 1999. In a business where everyone has an opinion, nearly all agreed that Mark Erelli's debut marked "the beginning of a very promising new road (Acoustic Guitar)."

Two years later, on his sophomore release COMPASS & COMPANION (2/13/01), Mark Erelli delivers on that promise. From the majestic opening strains of "Ghost," to the wistful conclusion of "Almost Home," COMPASS & COMPANION is an album that will suck you in and keep you rapt from start to finish. Maybe it's the voice, a sandy tenor with startling emotional honesty, that will hook you in. Or perhaps it will be the songs, intelligent and electrifying all at once, that will keep you coming back for more. Most likely it will be the whole package, something truly greater than the sum of its parts, that will keep your finger glued to the "repeat" button on your CD player for weeks on end.

COMPASS & COMPANION (produced by Lorne Entress) embraces a variety of American musical idioms, and distills them into a unique and focused musical vision. "I think we captured a little more blood, sweat, and tears on tape this time around," says Erelli when pressed to describe the difference between his two albums. "Three of the eleven tracks were first takes for the whole band, and nine of my vocal and guitar tracks were done completely live, so there's a little more of that 'walking on the tightrope' energy coming out of the speakers." Of particular note is the rollicking title track, which is a duet featuring alternative country goddess Kelly Willis.

"Someone recently asked me if there is an angle or story behind this album that makes it stand out from all the others vying for the public's attention," says Erelli. "I didn't really know what to say. I've never been in jail, I'm not a recovering addict, and I've never lived out of my car! I just tried to write a batch of really good songs." One listen to COMPASS & COMPANION and a simple truth is revealed: sometimes that's all it takes to make people stand up and pay attention.

For more information call Juna's, 607.256.4292

More info about Mark Erelli
Back to Folkstuff

tcTrailer Logo
Author:Ted Crane
Last Modified:Monday, January 28, 2002 22:11:27
Accessed:12368 times since 2002/01/28
Remote IP: