Mark Brine | for Karrie

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Country: Americana Country: Alt-Country Moods: Type: Acoustic
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for Karrie

by Mark Brine

Fans of the traditional school of country looking for a new voice to discover will be glad they found this CD.
Genre: Country: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Up On Elk's Ridge
3:31 $0.99
2. For Karrie
3:27 $0.99
3. Baby, You Move Me
3:36 $0.99
4. Once A Soldier (Always A Hero)
3:16 $0.99
5. You Ain't Feelin' With A Full Deck
3:40 $0.99
6. 8th Grade Romance ( ... And They Danced)
3:18 $0.99
7. Always Open Arms
3:12 $0.99
8. Riverboat
3:20 $0.99
9. Mae West Momma
2:42 $0.99
10. Stephen
3:53 $0.99
11. Even Blind Faith Has To See
2:54 $0.99
12. Blue Roses
3:23 $0.99
13. Back Roads
3:32 $0.99
14. Fly Away
5:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
What would you get if you merged Bob Dylan with Hank Williams? Odds on, you'd come up with a quirky approach and insightful lyrics that might sound a whole lot like Mark Brine.

Mark Brine may not be a well-known name in the Nashville circuits, and it's pretty unlikely anyone will ever hear his music on corporate "country" radio stations. That's okay, though. People who are looking for the over-produced commercial country aren't going to be drawn to the highly eccentric sound of Mark Brine. His music is pure and rootsy and brimming with an emotion that would have made him seem right at home with the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers; yet his modern approach to that old sound tells us only how well it ages. In fact, the homely quality of Brine's voice is as timeless as the rough-edged voices of other impossible-to-categorize artists such as John Prine or John Hiatt. It touches the soul through the impact of the thought which went into the lyrics, direct and to-the-point.

Brine was making folk music in New England in the 60s, a music which itself had fragmented from old-time mountain music. These days they call it all Americana. In the 70s, he moved to Nashville to take in some traditional country of the sort he already loved, but unfortunately, he got there too late. By that time the commercialization of "Golden Age Nashville" Countrypolitan was demanding a different sound, and Brine was already "too country" in a time when that phrase hadn't even been thought of. He wasn't out to be an "outlaw," so he wasn't one of the outlaws; nor was he a California honky-tonker, so Bakersfield wasn't his destination, and neither of those neo-traditionalist movements attracted him. Instead, he continued forward with his own unique yet thoroughly traditional sound, and probably single-handedly shaped the Americana genre by releasing "Return to Americana" in 1985, a time when today's current Americana artists were still being called "country" or "blues" artists (if, indeed, they were recording yet!).

It was that keeping true to his sound which brought Brine to the attention of Hank Snow, who was so impressed with the 1992 single, "New Blue Yodel," he invited Mark to appear on the Grand Old Opry. That old-time style of Opry, when Acuff and Minnie Pearl were still around, was exactly where Mark Brine belonged. Unfortunately, the Opry was going to change as much as country music itself in very short order, and what should have led to some much-deserved recognition simply vanished under the enforced pop sounds and slick productions that characterized "country" music throughout the nineties.

But none of that has kept Brine from recording the music he does best. Consistently writing and performing old-time country with his timeless folksy sound. Plain and simple music may never come into "style." But it will always have an audience that appreciates it. Mark Brine is possessed of the genius required to speak for the ordinary everyman. His music speaks both to and for anyone who yearns for love, who hurts for strangers, and who wishes on stars.



to write a review

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

Boils over with originality and the very substance of what we are
Mark Brine sings and plays the guitar as a true American folk legend would. His new album For Karrie is genuine and forthright in musical and lyrical content. Brine derives inspiration from all the great poets and writers that have come before him. His words and music create a colorful landscape of Americana delving into traditional, roots, country, rock, and blues. The strongly persuasive influences of country come through loud and clear from the traditional country-blues of yesteryear.

At the start of the album it sounded as if I was in for a country session, I was obviously too quick to judge the eventuality of each track. I strongly suggest that you really give this album a chance and a few listens so it all sinks in, and it will.

8th Grade Romance (…And They Danced) is one of my favorite tracks. The guitar has a hypnotic rhythm and Brine’s voice pulls you right into the story, as he does with every song. His voice is certainly different, not quite totally country and not quite totally anything for that matter, it is a little bit of everything. It gives him the ability to sing on either side of any invisible genre lines without crossing over yet having enough talent and flexibility to dabble with the blues too, which again, go back to the roots-country where he gathers such deep inspiration. Mae West Momma is a real hoot, and fun loving song just soaking in the warmth of Brine’s voice and guitar strings. This album is full of wonderful moments like that. It just boils over with originality and the very substance of what we are.

Doug Floyd

... it will warm your heart and soul.
Mark Brine's latest release ‘For Karrie’ takes the form of a musical scrapbook, telling through musical sketches of the "…simple ironies of life”. Fourteen songs spanning just under fifty minutes that recall the style of Guy Clarke and that band of Texan storytelling troubadours that have had such a marked impression on country-folk music. The material is all original with one exception “Once a Soldier” which comes from the pen of Texas DJ Eddie Russell and the material is without exception quite, quite exquisite.

‘For Karrie’ musically follows a branch of country folk that explores bluegrass, blues and pure country avenues. Titles like “Baby, You Move Me” have the feel of a Jimmie Rogers original, and many others provide examples of songs the ol’ Hank himself would have been happy with, the vocals drifting into the occasional half yodel, while the wile fiddle player pirouettes around the central melodic theme. “8th Grade Romance” is a diamond tale carried by a subtle switching shuffle/waltz feel, conjuring the image of a young boy facing his first serious crush and the complicated maneuvers that surround that oh so important first dance. “Always Open Arms” takes on a marked change of tack, a warmer collaboration from the accompanying band of players which helps to develop a languid jazz feel to this love ballad. There are many fine moments to enjoy on this set with the format remaining gentle and charming throughout. For me “Riverboat” probably does everything to sum up what this set is all about; a song so full of nostalgic imagery that it is hard not to close your eyes and drift into an imaginary world of riverbanks, lazily flowing water and childhood.

The material may be predisposed towards the ballad format, but this is a mood album pure and simple; something you would choose to listen to when time is not a premium and you want to escape to a simpler, better, more honest world. The band performances are presented with shrewd arrangements letting the songs sing for themselves, while material like “Blue Roses” and the stunning finale “Fly Away” where Brine takes a more singular approach the presentation is enriched by the delicate simplicity. The vocal style of Brine has enough passion and feel to it to engage you thoroughly in every song and it is impossible to just listen to this album, you really have to put everything aside and throw yourself into the fullness of its graceful ambience. The music of Mark Brine has up until now been somewhat of a well kept secret, but he is an artist who undoubtedly deserves a broader audience. His ability to write and produce this type of material has made his name, in my home at least, synonymous with quality, so on my advice take this opportunity to unlock this treasure trove of wonders…it will warm your heart and soul.

Pete Smith, Country Music Round Up

I tell you, I am absolutely knocked out by "For Karrie" and its warm stories and
I think Mark Brine must be Americana's best kept secret. A singer/songwriter for around forty years, friend of the late and legendary pioneer fiddlin' Sid Harkreader, Brine writes wonderful story songs about ordinary people and ordinary places. To tell these stories, Mark has a voice that is as comfortable as a favourite coat. I tell you, I am absolutely knocked out by "For Karrie" (Wild Oats) and its warm stories and beautiful picking. Largely acoustic, each of the fourteen tracks has great interplay between guitar and fiddle and the fiddle has a story in itself. Linda Joseph was hired for the sessions but broke her wrist before work began. Brine must have been inspired to bring in Boxcar Willie's fiddler, David Russell as a replacement. (Linda did come back for the last two songs). To the songs, 'For Karrie" is a celebration of love (written for his wife Karen), 'Baby, You Move Me' is a foot-tapper with a Jimmie Rodgers yodel and '8th Grade Romance' is a charming waltz. 'Mae West Momma', featuring Brine's son Keeve on rhythm is a bluesy ode (Keeve plays in a Baltimore-based rock band). 'Stephen' is an extremely tender look at a lasting friendship and 'Blue Roses' is a lovely tale of a love lost but not forgotten. The only song on the album not written by Brine is 'Once A Soldier (Always A Hero)', a tribute to the guys in the Armed Forces, written by Texas DJ Eddie Russell.

Fred Kraus

Mark Brine eases into the Woody/Dylan thing like a pageboy ‘do under a leopard-skin pillbox hat. Brine’s worn and softly ragged voice leads us through his 14 thoughtful, country-based tunes on "For Karrie". A country afficionado since the ‘60s, his collection ranges from the bluegrassy and upbeat "Baby, You Move Me" to the pedal-steel punctuated anti-war "Once a Soldier (Always a Hero)" to the more pop-leaning "8th Grade Romance (And They Danced)". The title track unfolds as heartfelt ballad about a fool in love. Sewing it all together is Linda Joseph’s able -- and markedly prominent -- fiddle/violin/viola throughout. Brine tosses in some nice turns of phrase, like "your quicksand eyes" and "still darkly warms my heart" while guitarist Denis Colby turns in some tasty riffs.

Gail Worley

... the arrangements and instrumentation are flawless.
A few years ago, I was privileged to interview Cheap Trick's drummer, Bun E. Carlos, about a short list of his favorite songs. Bun E. went on and on in our conversation about how much he loved artists like The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and Wilco, because of their great songwriting, and how he felt the art of the song has become somewhat lost. "When I think about what moves me, I think of those acoustic albums Dylan put out in the '90s, like World Gone Wrong and As Good As I've Been to You," Bun E told me. "They're full of songs that are 70 years old, and they're all great, and real simple. If you listen to a Stones album from the '60s or a Beatles album, the simpler songs with the less topical stuff on them age better, too. A well-written song lasts a long time." I had to pull that quote out because that's how I felt when I listened to Mark Brine's newest CD, For Karrie. On this CD's first few songs at least, Brine sounds more like a young Bob Dylan than Dylan himself. I could totally hear Brine covering "Shelter From the Storm" and no one being able to tell the difference. That's what initially drew me in, because I love old Bob Dylan, but what really got to me was how good Mark's songwriting is.While I had not heard of Mark Brine before receiving this CD, he has apparently been around for a long time; working in the background of the music business in Nashville in the '70s and later breaking from that scene and recording his debut album in 1985. For Karrie covers a broad range of styles so there really is something for every taste: whether you like country, folk, pop or have a fondness for traditional standards. Mark's love songs range from the upbeat, frisky feel of "Baby, You Move Me" to a more sentimental, traditional song like "Always Open Arms." There's also a warm hearted humor to "8th Grade Romance (...And They Danced)" that reminded me of something my parents might have listened to, although the message is timeless. Mark's compositions also touch the heart deeply with the bittersweet sentimentality of songs like "Stephen" and "Blue Roses." These are just really great songs, and the arrangements and instrumentation are flawless.I think what makes Mark Brine such a gifted songwriter/storyteller is the fact that he seems to be such an obvious fan of many genres of music. He's someone who is like a sponge when it comes to absorbing and reintegrating influences into his own work. For example, the cadence and lyrical structure of "Even Blind Faith Has to See" reminded me of Arlo Guthrie's classic "City of New Orleans" -- a song that was popular when I was a little kid. The funny thing about that song is how the guitar chords also reminded me of a completely different song that was popular around the same time, "Summer Song" by the Mersey Beat pop duo of Chad & Jeremy. It takes an educated ear to pick out that kind of thing, but it's worth mentioning. For Karrie is an album that any fan of great songs will enjoy. You could even buy it for your parents!

James McSweeney, Flyin Shoes

Brine could easily have been added to the cast of 'Oh Brother ...
Mark Brine sounds like he's been holed up in some possum holler aging in moonshine for a blue moon or two. His vocals swoop and dip like a bird in the mountains where Americana music grew up and you don't soon forget the experience. He's also got a band of crack musicians perfectly attuned to the sweet eccentricity of his songs. These are stories wrapped in homespun about people and places that don't make the history books or the headlines but are real and true to the small town milieu from whence they come. Brine's been knocking around the musical world for over three decades having logged time as a would-be Nashville songwriter, part-time touring musician and full-time iconoclast. The band includes David Russell (Box Car Willie) on fiddle plus a group of usual suspects whom Brine plays with on a regular basis. On this, his third self-produced CD, their contributions are notable and never feel wrong-footed or at odds with the material. Brine could easily have been added to the cast of Oh Brother Where Art Thou without raising an eyebrow. He belongs to that group of artists whose individuality and quirkiness consign them to the periphery of what's commercially viable. But God bless him for not just being another cog in the musical wheel. If you too pine for a simpler world give this recording a listen.