It was only a matter of time before super-collaborator Carolyn Mark recorded with her dear friends in NQ Arbuckle but, rather than the hilarious party-in-your-pocket some might expect, Let's Just Stay Here is a decidedly heavy album. As notorious for having a ball as they are renowned for their songwriting prowess, Mark and Neville Quinlan aren't household names yet but are at the vanguard of folk and country songwriting in Canada. However incisive in their respective observational tunes, there's an undercurrent of clever fun running through their material that's refreshingly pure. Mark and Quinlan can also conjure heartbreak with quick, precise turns of phrase and, by and large, there's a forlorn tone to these songs. Clocking in with six originals, Mark sounds steadily mature on songs like "All Time Low" and "2nd Time." Quinlan's "Saskatoon Tonight" is bolstered by a duet with Mark and a guest spot by Corb Lund, while the upbeat rock of NQ Arbuckle puts Mark in a whole new context on "Downtime" and the fun "Canada Day Off/Toronto." Still, there's an effective weight to Let's Just Stay Here that casts these two great talents in a whole new light.
Why has this rock sound eluded you until now?
Mark: Oh, it makes me nervous; I don't know why. Recording it seems more meticulous to me than just playing it live. I think it's easier to get the sound you want with less stuff. But Neville's got this great band and I did a tour with them out west last summer. So, we just said, "Let's make a record."
You've suggested that this is your version of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Really?
I just like that album cover with the dangling balls [laughs]. I had to pick something that it sounds like a little bit so I thought it was a touchstone that people would know. I was just joking, I guess!
Well then, what are these songs about?
I think some of the songs are about not being particularly well known. Some times you feel a bit obscure, which I kinda like. I don't think popular stuff needs my help.
Is camaraderie as important to you as musical proficiency?
Musicians like to do things, not just hang out. For touring purposes though, I'd actually pick personalities over music. Otherwise it gets lonely! (Mint)