Carolyn Mark Nothing Is Free

Carolyn Mark Nothing Is Free
It’s amazing what a change of locale can do. Driven by the acoustics demanded of Beaver Point Hall in Saltspring Island, BC, Carolyn Mark has put together a delicate album that pulls out the melodic best of our own country maven. Still spouting trademark quips like "There’s the one that got away/and the one that’s in the way/I just want to be the one that got away with it,” the real change is how great this all sounds. Take the excellent "Pictures at 5,” where the violin and acoustic guitar perfectly meld with Mark’s catchy chorus. It also seems the locale got the best of Mark’s formidable voice, as songs like "Point O’ View” really showcase her evocative siren call. Ms. Mark even throws in a little surprise at the end with "Destination: You,” which may seem like an experiment in electronic tones, but is actually a keyboard called the Fun Machine, provided by collaborator Neckbeard. Indeed, the consistency of tone in this album is to be celebrated and probably gives Mark her most complete sounding album ever. Delicate, atmospheric and a real sonic leap forward; this is the album Carolyn Mark fans have been waiting for.

Why record at Beaver Point Hall?
Well, I just really wanted to record at that hall and because the hall is so responsive and reverb-y we couldn’t have too many people or have a bigger sound. It was kind of a great limitation that it had to be kept small. I just had a hunch that this would work and I think it did.

How did you hear about it?
I went to play a show and my friend Michael was there, and this was one of the weirder gigs, but his brother got his plumbing ticket, or the document that makes him now a plumber and he threw a party for him in the hall and so I was the band. I’d never played a plumber party. I just knew I wanted to try and record there. It’s just a magical sound.

What was the inspiration behind the cover art?
It’s this girl, Kelly Haigh. She’s amazing. She’s from Vancouver, she’s a hair dresser. She’s great. I had a picture of me in a rain poncho at the North Country Fair that I thought was hilarious, but Mint was like, but it sounds so good you have to make it look nice too. They said we know this girl that can paint so maybe we could give her a copy of the record. So, she painted it to [the album], which is cool. And then she put the weasel on it and I was so excited. I just really like the fact that weasels sleep in the carcasses of animals. I thought it was an interesting animal fact.

Is this a departure for you?
I think I’ve been writing the same songs ever since I started and it’s just the arrangements that have changed. That’s what I feel and I could be wrong about that, but I just think it’s been the same songs and the same lyrics but I’m getting better at it and also the music is getting slowly less, uh, you can hear stuff now, you know? I think it’s more like that, or allowing myself to be heard. (Mint)