|Dimensions||12.5 × .8 × 12.5 cm|
House of Cards combines powerful elegies to love and desire with documents of contemporary Australian life. This superbly crafted effort sees Mark confirming his status as one of Australia’s leading song writers.
House of Cards was voted 2009 Folk Alliance Australian CD of the Year.
Singer songwriter Mark Cryle’s distinctive sound has won him a devoted following and critical acclaim for his CDs. He’s about to win hearts again with the release of his new CD House of Cards. While every one of the thirteen tracks is written by Mark, the work is a co-production with guitarists Richard Evans and Michael Fix. “I really prefer a collaborative approach to music, it probably comes from working in bands for so long,” Mark says. “Musicians hear different things in tunes and working with Richard and Michael brought out some interesting approaches to the music.” “They are both guys who are really conscious of doing what’s right to support the song”. The tracks are a mix of songs; some had their genesis in Spot the Dog days, some have been on the back burner waiting for the full band treatment and others Mark has penned recently. “Song selection is always a subjective process, the result needs to have variety and cohesion,” he says. “Some of the tracks have a folky, narrative feel and one of the songs, The Granville Train, also made the finalists in the Australian Songwriting Contest in 2 categories. In sorting and assessing songs for this CD I think I’ve almost compiled the track list for the next one!” The line-up with Mark on the CD is the Redeemers – Silas Palmer (keys), Richard Evans (guitars) & Andrew Heath (bass) plus Scott Hills from The Flood on drums, guitar maestro Michael Fix, and Renae Suttee and Helen McGreevy on backing vocals. Mark’s son Joe makes a recording debut too guesting on pedal steel and dobro.
About the artist: The roots of Mark Cryle’s songwriting grew in rich, deep soil when he was just a youngster, listening to the vinyl albums his older brothers and sister brought home. Rhythm and blues, Motown, soul, early Delta blues music and later the Beatles and Rolling Stones – all grist to the mill of the family stereo and all eagerly absorbed by a boy who was open to their spell. “I remember The Band as the first group that really connected with me,” Mark reminisces; ”There was something about their vocal harmonies and rootsy sounds – mandolins, accordions and songs. Mark went on to discover musicians such as Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, Neil Young, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan and Dick Gaughan. In his late teens Mark played bass in a rock’n’roll band with high school mates, learning for the first time about the process of being “up there and doing it”- and the intense enjoyment it could bring. Weightier responsibilities in the late 1980s – marriage, starting a family, working full-time and studying at the University of Queensland (Mark has an Arts Degree with honours in history) saw his music put on the back burner – even to the point of selling his treasured bass and amp to buy carpet for his first baby’s bedroom. That could have been the end of it but some years later Mark’s musical neighbours, members of the band One Straw, brought his music off the back burner in a rush; he was introduced to the wealth of talent at the Sitting Duck, a then thriving restaurant- café in Brisbane’s bohemian , cosmopolitan West End. Realising that this was a chance to revisit part of his life that had given him so much joy, Mark, by now a Senior Librarian at U of Q, started playing with other musicians and in 1991 one of Australia’s most popular groups, Spot the Dog, was born. Spot was to thrive for the next fourteen years, finally signing off in early 2005, to be followed by the Redeemers. Mark’s songs cover a gamut of human experiences and his particular love is crafting the songs and tunes, which he enjoys even more than performing them. “One of the finest parts of the songwriting craft is to write something that sounds deeply personal but may be about a fictitious character and to write in a way that anyone listening can identify with that person and their feelings,” he says. “I admire people who can make things, like cupboards or buildings but I’m useless as a home handyman so songwriting is, for me, a small way of contributing to the continuum of human experience, giving back something that hopefully will last.”
House of Cards track listing: Someday Running From Yourself Rainy Day House of Cards Bad Timing The Longing The Granville Train Nadine Blow Me Away Johnny Cash is Dead Glebe Point Road Kerobokan She’s Got Everything
CD REVIEW – by Chris Spencer
Here is an album that I’ve enjoyed listening to. This is Cryle’s second solo outing after playing with Spot the Dog for over a decade. After learning of his past recordings – Spot the Dog have released 3 albums – I am a bit surprised at his songwriting on this CD. I was expecting more folk and Celtic infl uences, but on House of Cards, his songs are more often country infl uenced, although it’s probably the use of country instruments such as the fi ddle, banjo, pedal steel and dobro that make them so. Throughout the CD, the arrangements are spot on, the instrumentation lush, yet not overpowering and sympathetic to the songs. Michael Fix, who produced the album, has done a great job. The use of organ adds to the appeal, particularly on the opening track “Someday” and at the beginning of the slow “The Longing”. Most songs are medium paced and so the tracks such as “Bad Timing” with its reggae beat and “She’s Got Everything” with its Latin rhythm stand out and assist to make the album interesting. The duet with Helen McGreevy, with whom Cryle used to perform in Spot the Dog, is another example of varying the music to keep us interested. There are a couple of nice touches of production work on “Kerobokan” and “Bad Timing” that assist to emphasise the mood of the song. On the latter, Cryle’s voice sounds like it’s coming through a telephone and the beat of the drum suits the hopelessness of “Kerobokan”. “Someday” could be interpreted as someone wanting to join a partner in the after life. Love songs include: “Rainy Day”, the title song (love lost – but it is one of the stronger songs); “Bad Timing”, “The Longing” (another fi ne song) , “Nadine”, “Blow me Away”, “She’s got Everything”. Songs that deal with different topics include “The Granville Train” telling of the loss of a loved one in the train accident; “Glebe Point Road” about a premarital pregnancy; the passing of Johnny Cash (“Johnny Cash is Dead”); and one about a son being imprisoned in Asia for attempting to import drugs (“Kerobokan”). Mark’s voice is suited well to his songs – it varies a bit to suit the mood, at times deep, or occasionally reedy. His lyrics are easy to hear and I particularly liked this line from “Nadine” – ‘He’s still smoking, but it’s not your brand.’ A good album all round.
7 in stock (can be backordered)