MP3 Mark Lucas - The Ghost of Lost Creek Road
Melding a rich but natural mix of folk, country and blues roots with a sharp pop sensibility honed by more than a decade''s experience on the Sydney live circuit, Lucas spins us stories of ordinary people and the world we inhabit.
14 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Modern Country, COUNTRY: Country Rock
On his follow up to acclaimed Laughing Outlaw release Jukebox Jury, Sydney based singer-songwriter Mark Lucas further cements his growing reputation as one of Australia''s more individual songwriting talents.
Melding a rich but natural mix of folk, country and blues roots with a sharp pop sensibility honed by more than a decade''s experience on the local live circuit, Mark spins us stories of ordinary people and the world we inhabit expressed with a realism tempered by a dry wit.
Notwithstanding the roots/country influence, The Ghost of Lost Creek Road is not just antipodean Americana; it truly captures the spirit of place and is the work of a contemporary Australian songwriter making a real connection with his adopted home (Mark migrated to Australia from England some 20 years ago) through honest observations of the people and the land itself. These songs have the timelessness of all music inspired by the heart and soul of a world in constant motion.
If your tastes run to passionate writing and singing in the vein of revered contemporary singer/songwriters such as Guy Clark, Townes van Zandt, Dave Alvin, Richard Thompson, Paul Kelly, Lucinda Williams, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett, then you''ll feel perfectly at home in the company of these songs.
The Ghost of Lost Creek Road will take you on a journey - relax and enjoy the ride.
"Unlike so many of his contemporaries in the new Australian country fold, Sydney-based Mark Lucas reveals no pretensions to the starstruck skyline of 90s Nashville on the follow-up to Jukebox Jury. This album has a lot of the trappings of traditional country and roots - his band''s playing on mandolin, steel guitar, fiddle and dobro is a fine match for Lucas''s economical guitar lines - but it''s also got an indelibly Australian sound (there''s even didgeridoo to colour ''Walk In Beauty'' and the title track). His images of this "great southern land" are vivid, recalling times of "rags and riches" in both urban and regional settings. ''Don''t You Know Me Girl'' is the pick of the ballads, while ''Bring Me Whiskey'' and ''Martha Jane'' are among the more memorable of the upbeat tunes." 3 1/2 stars- Time Off Magazine
"Mark Lucas is another Sydneysider releasing his second solo effort. The Ghost of Lost Creek Road (Laughing Outlaw) has perhaps loftier ambitions than the barroom. Lucas looks for inspiration from the heavy hitter singer/songwriter scene (maybe Guy Clark, Tom Russell) in terms of creating material with lyrical depth and has surrounded himself with class musicians such as James Gillard, Mark Marriott, Andrew Clermont, Michel Rose, Sam Mcnally and his producer Glenn Skarratt to achieve it. The assembled create a pretty convincing band sound to support some solid songs from Lucas. Heavy and electric when required, acoustic and light where desired. Where the city meets the country seems to be the place Mark feels thematically at home and he marks that out pretty well, with plenty to keep the listener coming back. Walk in Beauty is reminiscent of the sort of saga song Townes van Zandt did but is firmly rooted in an Australian location. Lucas has made great strides since his first album." - Keith Glass, The Alternate Highway/Capital News, Australia
" On The Ghost of Lost Creek Road Mark Lucas is attempting something specific and difficult: country music that addresses the urban experience... Lucas'' songs tell stories worth remembering, backed by music that features plenty of twang but fortunately no big hats." - Juice Magazine
".. things soon relax into some very pleasant and trad twangy stuff with pedal steel, mandolin and dobro, and a strong flavour of Australia, lyrically and musically, and some fragrant dealings with city/country themes. You''ll grin in a post-modern way if I mention the didgeridoo on a couple of tracks, but it works, trust me, especially on standout Walk in Beauty. The press release for this one mentions Guy Clark and Townes van Zandt, but this time they''re on to something. Sweet." - Comes With A Smile Magazine (UK)
"Mark Lucas moved to Australia over twenty years ago from England and gained his experience playing in a variety of groups. From playing in the London pub scene in the late 70s he has taken in country, folk, blues and rock along the way to playing with various bands in his adopted home of Sydney. Recently he gained more exposure with The Parwills whose critically acclaimed 1996 album, ''Boothills Of Desire" was hailed as a good, solid alt country album. Lucas says that " he doesn''t believe in pigeon-holes and never has done" when it comes to his influences but there is an undeniable traditional country flavour to the songs on this, his second solo album, although he also incorporates roots and blues into the mix.
Maybe sticking the alt country tag on Lucas is doing the songs he writes an injustice as he certainly is a cut above the rest when it comes to adding subtle textures to the music, and he also has a talent for storytelling which is sadly lacking in some of his contemporaries. But country is an obvious influence; there can be no argument there.
The opening track, ''Hard Times In The Land Of Plenty'', which is a more rock influenced song than a country track, starts the album off with what seems to be a recurring theme; Mark''s observations of the people and places in his chosen land. Lucas succeeds in writing country music that reflects the city experience. ''Urban Country'' is a phrase that has been used to describe Mark''s music and it''s an apt description. It would be unfair, however, to go overboard on the country influence. The track, ''Hurt No More'', for example is a tale of love and loss with some excellent Lucas lyrics, " Remember the time I held you back when you were bound to fall/You said I was worth my weight in gold/Now that''s worth nothing at allAnd a short time may have passed but a lifetime is walking out that door". It''s the stunning backing vocals from Kara Grainger which take the song from good singer songwriter territory though and push it into a great, almost soul influenced song which is sung with pure emotion. Not a trace of country there.
Mark''s talent for storytelling is non more apparent than on ''Between The Ditches'' with fiddle and Dobro colouring the tale of Cherry who "drove a kwiksnacks truck by day" and spent her time dodging roving hands before climbing "back into her Ford, her own no-man''s land". It''s a sad tale of a girl taking the wrong directions and ending up back home "at rest in the family plot". "There are no street signs, ''tween rags and riches, and it''s a long way home, between the ditches" sings Mark while the fiddle and Dobro weave in and out sympathetically. In fact, Mark''s choices of instruments, which are played brilliantly throughout, really do add texture to his songs. Apart from the usual suspects of mandolin and steel guitar as well as the fiddle and Dobro, Mark also uses a didjeridoo on a couple of tracks. One of these songs is ''Walk In Beauty'' which is possibly the strongest song on this set. It''s an atmospheric tale of coming "up from the country and I moved to your town, and I''m looking for the good life, the one I heard about". Eventually realising that the streets are not paved with gold he nevertheless shows some optimism with the line, "I''ll admit that things ain''t looking good but I won''t admit defeat".
Having given this album repeated listens it appears that Mark does have a point about not being pigeonholed. The trad country feel of some of the tracks that seemed to set the flavour for the album actually diminishes, as the songs become more familiar. For every country tune like ''Martha Jane'' there is a song like ''Torchsong Lament'', an aching ballad which owes as much to folk music as it does country. Mark''s superb lyrical touch is present and correct on this track too, "So here I sit between these four walls, drunk on the hope of a late phone call".
All in all Lucas has assembled an intriguing mixture of country, folk and blues with some pop added in as well which sounds more appealing with each listen. Judging by the songs on this album we are going to hear a lot more from Mark Lucas in the future and this album is going to be picked up and played for a good while yet." - Pennyblack Music Website
"Mark Lucas is a Sydney based singer and songwriter whose sound is a blend of country, folk and blues, which has been developed with a keen ear for a tune and a bluegrass twist. Vocally sounding a little like cross between Dylan and David Byrne there is plenty of character in the performances on display here, and after a few listens you find that the warmth of ''Ghost of Lost Creek Road'' starts to grow on you and begins to glow as fully fledged and tastefully executed performances drive themselves home. This is Lucas''s second album, the follow up to 1999''s ''Jukebox Jury'' and is brim full of well observed, thoughtful songs and musically the country trail is kept on track with some stunning and tasteful fiddle, mandolin, dobro and steel guitar. Opening up with "Hard Times in the land of Plenty" a song that resonates both thematically and musically with an element of ''Lonesome Jubilee'' era Mellencamp, then we are off on a joyous ride through Americana with an Australian flavour. "Ghost of Lost Creek Road" rolls along with all the essential country and bluegrass elements in place and features a storming steel solo and fine flowing fiddle lines. "Don''t you know me Girl" and "Lean on Me" are supported by some delicate violin lines, the former featuring luscious harmonies both benefiting from that hauntingly lonesome fiddle playing and some touches of atmospheric steel guitar. Opposing ends of the musical scale are visited serving up a mix of livelier up tempo bluegrass and slower but no less heartfelt ballads like "Torchsong Lament" which is nicely book ended by "Bring Me whiskey" and "Martha Jane" which showcase the contrasting styles on display in a neat little nine minute package. "Sweetheart" and "Run For Cover" allow some laid back jazz inlflected blues to spice up the mix before "To the Limit" (surely an Alison Krauss outtake) and the powerful "The Place we call Forever" and a lovely, yet untitled hidden track wrap things up in formidable style.
After a while you may begin to notice that Lucas''s music has many similarities with that of Texan Robert Earl Keen, there is a similar use of instrumentation and the keen observational and occasionally witty lyrics are also a common issue. Occasionally straying into bluesy and jazz territory the flavour of the album is very tastefully compiled. The playing on this album is precise and eloquent, there is obviously a real feel for bluegrass which filters through on almost every track, even occasionally mixing with the native Australian digeridoo on the excellent "Walk in Beauty". This is a very strong album, and the strength lays in the more traditional country moments rather than the rock and blues influenced pieces. There is clearly an excellent band of musicians on board which helps keep things tight, and given the weight of quality material here, the whole thing comes across as a real winner." - https://www.tradebit.com Website (UK)
Mark''s a Sydney-based singer-songwriter who migrated from England around 20 years ago. He spins stories of ordinary people and the world we inhabit, expressed with a realism tempered by an often dry wit. The Ghost Of Lost Creek Road, his second album (Jukebox Jury came out in 1999), carves Mark''s connection with his adopted home even deeper, through honest observations of the people and the land itself. Although many of his songs have the overt trappings of traditional-style country (fiddle, mandolin, steel, dobro), Mark mostly manages to escape any potential charge of merely peddling antipodean Americana. Aside from the "barking didgeridoo" on one track (Walk In Beauty), there''s no shoutingly obvious Australian sound to this album, and certainly no sense of alienation for the listener. Rather, the sense of place is rooted in the lyrics, as on the mesmerising "official" closer The Place We Call Forever for instance. The wonderful uncredited bonus track (All On The Borderline?) is a sparse philosophical treat, and Bring Me Whiskey is a great Burrito-style slice of what you could probably term the nearest thing to authentic Australian honky-tonk - though on other tracks Mark''s perceptive portrayal of real life situations is every bit as much in the mould of Townes van Zandt or Tom Russell, you might say (just sample Between The Ditches and you''ll hear what I mean). Mark gets charismatic support from a pool of classy musicians too (James Gillard, Mark Marriott, Mark Oats, Andrew Claremont, Michel Rose and Robbie Souter), and a finely-toned production courtesy of Glenn Skarratt that copes equally well with acoustic or electric textures. - NetRhythms website