Mark Davis Don't You Think We Should Be Closer? / Mistakes I Meant To Make

Mark Davis Don't You Think We Should Be Closer? / Mistakes I Meant To Make
It takes real nerve for a relatively unknown artist to simultaneously release two albums, but Davis’s gamble has paid off with these stunning tours de force. His work in Edmonton’s Old Reliable served notice of his songwriting abilities and they’ve reached full bloom here. Don’t You Think is a more widescreen musical conception but the starker, more minimal and drum-less Mistakes digs even deeper. They’re not radically contrasting works, as Davis’s richly compelling voice and vivid lyricism serve as unifying features. A cover of Grant Hart’s "She Floated Away” is shimmeringly beautiful, while originals like "Burning Post” ("you can’t hitch a pony to a burning post”), "Saviour” and "In On Me” gain stature with every spin. The ghosts of time and lingering memories haunt both, and over the course of two discs, the pervasive sense of grief-laced melancholy can become a little emotionally gruelling. However, there is simply no denying the poetic power of this double whammy. Critics are promiscuously dishing out four- and five-star ratings for them but you can safely believe the hype. Any anxiety about releasing two discs simultaneously?
I felt I didn’t have any choice in the matter. I was driven to it by having to endure the process of making part one [Closer] over a two-year span due to lack of finances. I listened to it over and over again, overanalysing it. The opportunity then came up to make a very spontaneous record in just two days and I took it.

How would you compare the two?
They are companion packages but I feel they stand alone. Part one is a pretty dense, lush album, with each tune having many tracks and several guests. There’s a lot more going on somehow and it is more autobiographical, more personal. Part two is sparse, spooky and it’s a lot less self-referential, thematically. I decided to make my voice the number one sonic standout quality of part two.

Can songwriting be a cathartic or therapeutic process?
There have been times in my life where I’d have just lost my mind if I didn’t have this particular outlet. When my girlfriend passed away from breast cancer I had the opportunity with Old Reliable to make a record [The Gradual Moment] in tribute to her. If I hadn’t had that avenue to express my feelings I don’t even know if I’d be making music today. I don’t know where I’d be honestly. (Saved by Radio)