Carolyn Mark The Queen of Vancouver Island

Carolyn Mark The Queen of Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island? The realm of much-loved veteran roots songstress Carolyn extends much farther, and her loyal fan base will find plenty to enjoy here. She last made a mark with 2009's Let's Just Stay Here, a fine collaboration with fellow free spirit NQ Arbuckle. Here, she reunites with an ace crop of West coast musicians, including guitarists Paul Rigby, Paul Pigat, Tolan McNeil and Jon Wood. The guitar work throughout is superb, while cello, violin, trumpet and trombone help broaden the sound. The songs were recorded with different musical casts and engineers in Vancouver, Victoria and California. Mark is blissfully unconcerned about following a strict sonic or stylistic template, and eclecticism suits her. Lyrically, hard-earned wisdom ("The Cereal is the Prize") and candour (as on "Old Whores" and "No Talk" ― "it's true I treated you like a rental car") are nestled alongside more whimsical observations. The only cover, "Flaming Star," is an obscure Elvis film soundtrack number from 1960 that's given a vibrant and suitably retro reading, while the "Sha-la-la-la" chorus of the title track has a '60s girl group vibe. Closing cut "You're Not A Whore (If No One's Paying)" is a jazzy romp, sounding like something you'd hear it in a saloon during the Klondike gold rush. It could have done without the gargle solo, but that's the kind of irreverence you'd never want Mark to change. She remains a gem of a performer. (Mint)