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CD Review: Mark Brine - Electric Hillbilly

Electric Hillbilly
Hello Love - Sittin' On A Fence - Special Kinda Woman - Your Bitter Heart - You Ain't Feelin' With A Full Deck - Baby, You Move Me - Last Thing I Want To Hear From You - Love Just Doesn't Feel Right Anymore - Backroads - Fortunes ------/----- Wanna Duet With You - Sweet Harmony - Blue Yodel #1 -  The Long Lost Art Of Common Sense - The Rambler's Call - Hands On You - Little Buddy - I Got It Made - Gonna Lose Your Man - He Wrote His Nme Upon Our Hands

Mark Brine is one of my favorite 'country style songwriters and singers.'  His voice is patterned slightly like his hero Hank Snow, BUT Mark has his own very distinctive vocal styling.  He does'nt sound like an 'electric' hillbilly, unless of course you are referring to his electric way of writing a song. Right off the bat, he has some remarkable musicians helping on this project.  Actually it's two projects, Tracks 1 through 10 is known as 'Electric Hillbilly" and tracks 11 through 20 is referred to as "The Best Of Out On Luke's Highway." He is using some remarkable musicians on both projects.  First one is Mark is on vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar of course, along with Linda Joseph on fiddle (she's on the first and second tracks sounding very 'electric' but of course she is playing remarkably well.)  Jeff Pitcher is on electric guitar, but the only electricity here is the 'pick-up' on the instrument.  It's the 'playing' that is electric.  Bryan Cummings is on bass.  Rick Lonow on drums as well as acoustic guitar on "Gonna Lose Your Man."   The second project only has minor changes, Dennis Colby takes on lead guitar chores, and John Ownby adds stand-up bass.  The first project has some nice western swing sounds in it, but more than that it has a lot of Mark Brine's very special understanding of what makes a good country song.  He digs deep into his own soul to tell us about heartbreak and just plain bitter hearts.  Second project is definitely a 'back to the roots' effort, especially on the Jimmie Rodgers Yodel Number One.  Mark is an incredibly good yodeler in the Jimmie Rodger's style, and Linda Joseph has a very nice way of bringing her fiddle 'swing' sound into the bluesy 'T for Texas.'  Mark has a ton of thoughts and ideas coming through on this remarkable CD.  It's a good 'hour' listening experience, which can be sorta long listening to today's so-called country music.  Not the case with Mark Brine, each and every song has a specific theme and the pickers are sure having a good time playing music they like to play.  I suspect Mark is not too much of a 'do it my way' kind of guy.  Most likely he simply tells his musicians, do it, but do it well.  And indeed they do. This wonderful musical production is out on 'Wild Oats' Records.  I really like their logo, and the company does indeed provide us with a kind of 'wild oats' experience listening to Mark Brine share not only his 'musical thoughts' but also his musical music.  I like his acoustic guitar too.  Not sure what it is but it definitely has it's own sound.  Mark includes a song by his hero, Hank Snow, "Little buddy."  I wasn't aware that Hank had written that song about his dog.  I thought it was also kind of interesting to see that Mark did a Jagger-Richards song, "Sittin' On a Fence." This is of course 'Rolling Stone' music and lyrics, but here it's incredibly well done as a traditional country song.  Another treat was hearing Rattlesnake Annie join Mark on a duet, 'I wanna Duet With You."  Annie came to the National Old Time music Festival long time ago when it was in Avoca, Iowa.  This entire cd is full of all kind of surprises, and certainly a number one 'listen to' album.  Off it goes to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their listening pleasure.  I've already given this one five-stars.
www.music-savers.com RECORD REVIEW BY Bob Everhart, President, National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

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