Live in a Field of Bluegrass[CD]
Mark Brine has often been described as the "modern day Jimmie Rodgers". Though I hate such comparisons this is more than justified for Brine has for years kept alive the memory of Rodgers, the man and his music, and is the best blue yodeller since Jimmie. Mark began his musical career at the age of thirteen playing first in rock groups and then moving into folk during the late sixties. It was during this period that Brine became interested in the music of Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams and this interest was so intense it persuaded Mark to relocate to Nashville (1971) to be closer to country music. It was extremely difficult for the singer/writer to open doors in "Music city" for he did not (and still does not) fit the perceived country mould, He did manage to release three singles on the Door Knob label and a couple on Society Records but nothing great happened. In 1985 the disillusioned Mark left Nashville for Baltimore where, with KJK Records he announced his future career with the album "Return To Americana", followed in 1988 with "American Pieces". Four years later (1992) the Resigned label released the single "New Blue Yodel" and it impressed Hank Snow so much that Hank invited Mark to appear with him on the Grand Ole Opry. During the last twenty years Brine has released a stunning body of work on a number of albums highlighting an amazing writing talent and an astute knowledge of traditional American musical styles. Brine's latest offering is a "live" project recorded at various locations entitled "Live In A field Of Bluegrass" (Wild Oats). The magical performances include tributes to some of country music's pioneers including, naturally, Jimmie Rodgers ("Whippin' That Old T.B. Blues", "California Blues" and the Brine composition "New Blue Yodel"), Roy Acuff ("Wreck On The Highway") and Ola Belle Reed ("Fortunes"). Half of the fourteen tracks is Mark's own work including a trio of humorous ditties; "Road Rage Blues", "Ukelele Yodellin' Blues" (love it!) and "Fred The Yodellin' Pig". This really is old-time bluegrass at it's very best that, in the words of Eddy Raven's opening track is firmly "Back In The Country". Though Mark Brine is the undisputed star of the show, a standing ovation must be given to the guys who stand behind him picking banjo, fiddle, Dobro and stand-up bass. -- Pete Smith, The Advertiser (UK) 5 June 2009.
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