Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 3:30 AM
Mark Lanegan is of course best known for his years as the vocalist for the Screaming Trees. He has also been building a following for the last ten years with a number of remarkable solo records that highlight his love for singer/songwriters, and American folk and blues. This love for the rich history of American contemporary music was showcased with his last album I’ll Take Care of You, his fourth release on Sub Pop. The album focused on cover songs that Mark chose by artists that have inspired and influenced him over the years.
Mark follows his last album with a stunning collection of songs that demonstrates his continuing growth as an artist. Take “Kimiko’s Dream House” for example, co-written with Jeffrey Lee Pierce of Gun Club fame. Showing a level of control and artistry that few ever hope to achieve, Mark weaves a new world around the listener. Singing with a mixture of sadness and compassion, it is like having a conversation with a long lost friend.
With this new album, Mark seems to have gone back through all his previous work, and taken the best elements from each to create one of the most fulfilled, and fulfilling, albums of his career.
He accomplished this with long-time collaborator, Mike Johnson (Dinosaur Jr.) who brings the understated magic one has come to expect of him over the years, and Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden) whose contribution is immeasurable. Listening to the one instrumental track, you can’t help but wonder what an entire album of Ben’s own music would sound like.
Trying to describe the power of Mark’s voice is not an easy task, but to paraphrase Fred Neil, he sure can sing the shit out of a song.