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The Queen Of Vancouver Island
Behold the latest album by in-famous West Coast Chanteuse Carolyn Mark- The Queen of Vancouver Island.
Recorded in 4 locations (Hollister, CA, Vancouver, Victoria and Vancouver) in 5 sessions during the winter of 2011-12 with the tops in the field, one can't help thinking THIS IS THE ONE!
The album opens with the mysterious Poor Farmers- a voice coming through an old telephone at first then materializing in full with the advent of the acoustic guitar ; a rallying call for all drivers to return to their vehicles, beautifully sparse with only stand-up bass and sweet harmonies (Terri Upton). Do we smell a ferry theme here? I mean the title and all? The second track is the title track. Laden with instruments, one gets the feeling that Mark just couldn't stop inviting people over to join in the fun. I mean, when was the last time you heard cello (Hank Pine), harmonica (Paul Henry Oppers) and viola (Rachelle Reath) together with a sha-la-la-la chorus and wailing guitar (Tolan McNeil)?
Baby Goats is a hit with it's luscious production (Paul Rigby, John Raham) and repetitive chorus:
Everyone is so young
Everyone is so young
And sweet trumpet! (Tess Kitchen)
Mark may be getting older but so will everyone.
Mark has confessed that there are plans afoot for a Baby Goats video.
Best Friend, recorded by Victoria's meticulous Myke Hall, features The New Best Friends- DrummerJuli Steemson laying down a funky disco beat with both new and former touring guitar men (Joel Fernandes and Tolan McNeil) musically duking it out.
Flaming Star- an Elvis cover? Why? Why not. It's a beautiful song about dying from the film Flaming Star with a bouncy bass-line (Dennis Siemens) and an almost Bollywood approach brought to you by Les Pauls- aka Pigby aka Paul Rigby and Paul Pigat) Amazing banshee vocals were added later by remote control by Laura Freeman of Austin, TX.
Nobody('s Perfect), recorded solo (get it?) is a serenade to the perfect lover- Nobody!
Nobody came to the show
There was Nobody in the front row
Mellie's Book- Let's say-Sarah Harmer meets Pavement? Sweet piano lines over a bed of Paul Rigbyguitar layers. "Dangerously close to normal," says Mark.
Not Like the Movies, recorded and guitared upon by Jon Wood in Vancouver, is a tribute to the real life world of being a full time touring musician. In the movies they always omit the loading out and packing the van scenes. And dig that angular guitar line!
The Cereal is the Prize- which Mark refers to as her "philosophical swing tune", seems to be a post-modern light hearted examination of that old albatross ambition.
The album ends with the inevitable descent from Queen to Whore- a pair of songs- We Weren't Always Old Whores- a lament begging forgiveness of the former self for falling short of youthful expectations andYou're not a Whore (if no one's paying) -obviously/perhaps about the music business? Any business? features not only tandem tasteful trombone (Allen Pleasants) and gargle solos but a children's chorus. Mark allegedly "borrowed" kids from her brother and Vancouver musical friends The Burnettes, stood them around microphones and had them sing "You're not a horse if no one's NEIGHing" and payed them in ice cream.
Available on VINYL and CD, The Queen of Vancouver Island is now in the terminal.
Would all drivers please return to their vehicles?