Mark Donato - The Old Joy Mark Donato's second full-length CD, The Old Joy, speaks to the twisted heart of our times. In the evolving tradition of songwriter-performers such as Randy Newman and Ray Davies, Donato sets indelible short stories to music, and never forgets the power of pure pop. 'You're always thirsty as you're leaving the house,' he begins the record, 'you think you know what it means.' But of course you don't. In the bottomless 'One Out of Three,' a patient waits for a heart transplant, or maybe just a change of heart; both are slow in coming. Reggae twang melts into driving rock 'n' roll that flows into a heaven of pedal steel. If John Prine mud-wrestled Elvis Costello, the sounds they'd make might be something like this. Or maybe not. The Village Voice said this: 'An unflinching yet sympathetic look at love, work, and memory, this wry singer-songwriter's appealing latest batch of songs, The Old Joy, is like an arm around your shoulder during hard times...delightfully droll country rock.' They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh has referred to Mark Donato as 'one of the best songwriters around.' About his first record, Mark Donato Sings 'I'm Flapping' and Other Favorites, The Village Voice said this: 'On the surface, (Donato's) debut engages because it's odd, ever-morphing textures, just like Harry Smith's anthology's, remind us that folk music was once remarkably strange...Beneath the surface, couplets like 'I dreamed my father told me I caused his heart attack / He said my life was empty and he deserved to have his back' remind us that his songs don't just sound interesting.' A little background: Mark Donato is a refugee from New York City's underground music scene, where he spent the late '80s and all of the '90s. He's sung his songs under his own name and with Canoeful of Strangers; with Spondee (a collaboration for Hello Recording Club with Robin Goldwasser); and has on occasion referred to his musical outfit as Sergeant Crabapple, Linguini 17, and Pills to Purge Melancholy. He's worked as a drummer, singer and harmonica player for John Linnell of They Might Be Giants; the legendary country orchestra Flat Old World; Rosine; the Oswalds; and Amy Allison and the Maudlins. He lives in Upstate New York, in a bowl of Catskill mountains.
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