Artist: Mark Gothard
Album: Fly the Coop
Genre: Acoustic Singer/Songwriter, Sadcore, Folk, Blues, Americana “Outlaw Folk”
Sounds Like: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, John Prine, The Doors, Johnny Cash, Richard Buckner, Chris Isaacs
Best Songs: What you Come Here For, I Don’t Think you Should Call Me, Virgin. King of Love
Weakness: Short sided songs, More solo segments, Micro-timing issues, better vocal rick execution
Mark Gothard admits he has been around the block a few times already. Now, with his fifth full-length album, Gothard has made the best music of… a career that is already full of highlights. ‘The Poet’ – recorded by award-winning producer Lauren Stalnecker – is in many ways the culmination of a life on the road, searching for the great American song. His latest release “Fly the Coop: was released in 2014.
The CD gently takes flight with “What You Come Hre For” a melancholy acoustic intro piece that serves up solitary vocal delivery from Gothard that is passionate, up front and very personal. This lead off track captures Pure Americana –Sadcore magic. And get things off on the right foot. Track 2 “Month of June” keeps things moving with methodical intro, slow moving feel meshed against Gothard’s amazing low yet striking baritone and thought provoking lyrical content. Track 3 “Dust” shifts gears a bit with its bluesy guitar riffs, impressive feel that flows and ebbs its way through emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Bruce Springsteen, John Prine, The Doors, Mark Kozelek Richard Buckner, Johnny Cash, Chris Isaacs, and even The National. The actual musical format is very intimate, up close: a personal snapshot of the artist. The songs themselves are very naked and personal with messages revealing the highs and lows of life, love, passion and do I dare say life’s observations. Overall the catalogue is extremely melancholy showcasing vintage sadcore but brilliant nonetheless. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice brief splashes of Horns, Piano, Hammond Organ, Keyboards, Sporadic Percussion, impressive guitar licks and solos, all built upon an impressive rhythm section. The guitar playing abilities from Gothard are impressive nonetheless. Timing is spot on within each piece. I might add Gothard displays an impressive baritone, impressive vibrato and strong emotional timbre. Gothard possess a truly brilliant Baritone and a very appealing deep timbre that sucks you in, His voice was made for this style of music I call Outlaw Folk. His voice reminds me of a cross between Jim Morrison and Johnny Cash. Lyrical content is extremely revealing and thought provoking. All songs cut deep to the core and its obvious Gothard is also a very capable singer/songwriter. From striking “Dive Bar Lawn” to slow burning “I Don’t Think You Should Call Me” and “Others” to methodical “Down Here” his CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “Down the Ohio” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs under 3 minutes tend to feel like incomplete statements to me. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. There are a few micro-timing issues throughout the CD but as a whole the CD grooves really well. I don’t care how Track 2 ends – sounds kind of like a train wreck. This CD is begging for more solo segments. To go with this last comment the production is in dire need of things like Slide guitar, upgraded solo guitar, and Harmonica, performances, Pedal Steel and even Piano to Electric Piano. I give credit to Gothrd attempted to taking a few vocal risks here but he needs to polish those moments up a bit within his pitch execution as theya re bit awkward.
This is the Best Mark Gothard to date. He’s definitely headed in the right direction with his overall sound. Mark Gothard will work best on days you want a delicate, thought provoking and intellectual singer/songwriter sound to fill your atmosphere. “Fly the Coop” is a brilliant, striking and compelling musical production. Its strong suit is its overall consistency, lyrical wisdom and bold straightforwardness of Gothard. His songs just groove and it’s fair to say Gothard has managed to capture some “lightning in a bottle” on this album. ake no bones about it folks; It took raw honesty to write and perform some of these songs. What I like most about Gothard is there is no attempt to hide how he feels, or sugar coat the truth. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that has the courage to show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Gothard is one of those artists. Be advised you may not want to listen to this CD on the day you get fired, but if you like melancholy music that provides a very real assessment of the human condition then you should jump into the CD head first. The real selling point for any song is the (singer to listener) emotional connection. Here experienced artists will execute and make this every time. It cannot be faked and has to be totally genuine. At the end of the day people don’t buy plastic and paper, they buy emotions. In this aspect Gothard is brilliant!
Purchase Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/markgothard3
Score: 8/10 Stars