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CD REVIEW: Mark Nicholas - Standing Right Here
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Mark Nicholas
Genre: Folk
CD Review:
Mark has that gruff voice that you like hearing even though you’re wondering all the time, ‘Is it fattening?’ It’s the way he pronounces the R’s. He turns phrases like a kid in an eager book, even if the story’s spooky and requires more breath and courage to unravel what’s happening. Consider the result of a mixed marriage between Cat Stevens and Oscar the Grouch from Sesame St., and then plug in Mr. Nicholas.

16 songs here that vary considerably, though in back of it all there’s a deep rooted religion to folk and jazz, in equal contrast. Take the blues ability of ‘Which Way To Go’. Not the best keyboard in the world, but you get the laid back feeling that you’re in the club sipping something rather than at the white screened computer, and thank God for that. Tracks like this will remind you of Garfield (the fat cat) soundtracks and move you back to the days of a younger Joe Cocker after he put away the horns and pot and just sorta hung loose.

One of the best cuts, and certainly one song that only Mark could make sound like this, has to be the acoustically full ‘Talk About Nothing’, simple, but shows strong tracks in the dirt. You know something was here. It makes an impression. Likewise, ‘Me & Allie’ is so catchy with its melody and word-strangling ends of lines (‘boardwalk’ ­ love the way that comes out) that it’s destined to line up some alternative pop airplay in college communities. Oh yeah.

This singer-songwriter had a difficult time with this album. It’s always the same when you’ve got too many strong songs to choose from. You don’t know which to leave off the cd. Well, at 71 minutes, thankfully only 2 tracks were left off. Nice, that. Cause Mark Nicholas doesn’t really Sound like anyone else. And he’s sure to be followed home.

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