Mark May Band | Release My Soul

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Release My Soul

by Mark May Band

The fifth cd, from former guitarist and vocalist for Dickey Betts and Great Southern, is jam-packed with traditional blues, blues-rock and ballads, laced with twin-lead guitars and smooth, soulful vocals.
Genre: Blues: Electric Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Six Strings or Two Legs
6:28 $0.99
2. Move On
5:15 $0.99
3. I Gotta Know
6:23 $0.99
4. Eyes of India
6:35 $0.99
5. Release My Soul
7:02 $0.99
6. World of Suffering
7:13 $0.99
7. Drifter
5:52 $0.99
8. Vindablues
6:56 $0.99
9. Devils Playpen
6:02 $0.99
10. She Don't Shine
6:30 $0.99
11. Sweet D
2:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Release My Soul is the new cd from former Dickey Betts and Great Southern guitarist and vocalist Mark May.

A staple on the blues scene for over 15 years, perfecting his craft in Houston, Texas since the mid eighties, Mark recently returned to his roots in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, where he played guitar at age 5 and performed in nightclubs before his 15th birthday. His astonishing live shows featuring dynamic twin leads and dual harmony guitar work are the perfect compliment to Mark’s smooth vocals. The band’s material includes many of Mark’s original songs, traditional blues and classic rock, and even steps into jam-band territory.

Mark has been featured in Blues Review, Guitar Player, Guitar World, Vintage Guitar, Tone Quest and other major publications. He has had numerous major endorsements including Peavey, GHS Strings and Robin Guitars, and currently gets heavy rotation on Sirius/XM and Sonic Tap satellite radio.



to write a review

Abby Owen

"Spending Quality Time With An Old Friend"
Reviews of 'Release My Soul' from those who know Mark's music: "It was like spending quality time with an old friend." ~ Jerry Owen. "Mark's vocals never let you down, like a fine wine you'd like to drink again and again." ~ Anonymous. "For those who like his sound, this CD will not disappoint. True Mark May from beginning to end.There are songs reminiscent of 'Call On The Blues' AND 'Dollmaker', and some real surprises that stretch Marks creativity, which is obviously ever-expanding...and so nice to witness." ~ A.S.O.

Release My Soul

Reviewer Sheila Skilling has this to say:
It seems the phrase “blew me away” is overused to the point of losing its clout, so I’m going to raise the stakes and say that Release My Soul, a new CD by the Mark May Band, touched my soul. From lyrics that got under my skin to solos that left me speechless, this set of 11 original songs (10 of them written or co-written by May) evoked an almost spiritual experience.

Mark May was born into a musical family, where he was exposed to a variety of musical styles. He started playing guitar at the age of 5, and was performing at local nightclubs by age15. This former guitarist and vocalist for Dickey Betts and Great Southern has opened for the Allman Brothers Band; and the influence of Betts and the Allman Brothers is obvious in May’s work. After over 20 years of performing in Houston, Texas, May has recently returned to his native Ohio, and the majority of his current tour dates are there.

This CD (May’s 5th) starts off with a fun tune that will rock your socks off, “Six Strings or Two Legs.” The cute and clever – though likely somewhat true – lyrics of this honky-tonk song basically tell you that the singer is “a woman-lovin’ blues man,” and don’t be expecting him to mow the lawn or do chores around the house. But in his defense, he says he’ll “be at bar tonight, if you want to hear some blues.”

In this song, you’ll hear some classic Hammond B3 organ, and some really nice slide guitar, as well as a duel between their harmonica and their two lead guitars, playing in harmony. I found this technique, no doubt adapted from Dickey Betts and the Allman Brothers, to be a Mark May Band trademark. This duel lead or double solo (which would seem to be oxymorons) can range from flowing, pleasant harmony to skirting a strategic clash, if the mood calls for it, as in some of the later, jazzier cuts.

The skies start to cloud up, almost immediately, in the second track, “Move On.” This one features a darker sound, with minor chords and a guitar solo with a little harder edge. Still there’s at least a hint of sun on the horizon, and the 3rd cut, “I Gotta Know,” lightens up considerably, featuring a strong horn section and bright guitar harmony provided by May and his co-lead guitarist, Paul Ramirez.

The 4th track, “Eyes Of India,” starts out sounding much like a contemporary Christian or country ballad, with lovely harmonizing vocals; but then adds some Indian musical elements - with May on electric sitar - making it one of the most beautiful songs on the disc. (You’ll hear some of this Indian influence again in cut 8, “Vindablues.”)

From here, the dark storm clouds roll back in with a vengeance, and the next three tracks, “Release My Soul,” “World of Suffering” and “Drifter,” up the emotional ante, with the mood running from sinister to plaintive to (slightly) hopeful. “Drifter” is heavy on the sax and horn section, with a scorching guitar solo. In all of these songs, there is a distinct move towards jazz, and May’s solos sometimes reminded me of (if I may invoke the “B” word) Jeff Beck.

“Devil’s Playpen” has a funky, SuperFly-style scratchy wah wah, while “She Don’t Shine” is a heart-felt ballad but includes an ominous, almost agitated riff. But then the set calms down to close with “Sweet D,” a pretty little instrumental, with a chord progression reminiscent of Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.”

Throughout this disc, May’s voice is smooth and pleasing enough for the ballads, with just the right amount of sincerity and gravel to handle the blues.

Release My Soul by the Mark May Band did touch my soul with its search for the hard truth in life and its pure, emotion-laden beauty. I’m not sure why I loved it so much. Was it the perfect storm of my favorite musical techniques and elements? Or is it that I’m a bit bewildered by life and on my own search for the hard truth? Or is that May is just that talented? Whatever the reason, I did love this CD and give it my highest recommendation.

Reviewer Sheila Skilling is a self-professed “blues fan by marriage,” who was hooked by her husband’s musical preferences, but reeled in by the live performances of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Buddy Guy and others. She lives in the Minneapolis area .

Claus from Hamburg

What a great Album! A MUST HAVE!
Mark left Houston and maybe it was the last time Mark recorded with his bandmates from Texas. In most cases I don't like to hear from artists that "the new album is always the best" and I haven't heard Mark saying it but let me tell you that this CD is the best of Mark's very good recordings.

The guitar playing of Paul Ramirez is unbelievable and only great guitarists like Mark May allow other guitarslingers to play in their bands but Mark used the abilities of Paul for a "Fest" of guitars. "Awesome" is the word that describes it! Dan "Fretless" Cooper was in Mark's band from the first album on. An incredible artist and I'm sure we will hear from him because "every" band would be proud to have such a first-class bass player! Sadly the drummer of the band "Clyde Dempsey" passed away in 2010 and for "Release My Soul" Mark found others to replace him. "Corey Tice", "Geronimo Calderon" and on one track (1,2,3,4) "Miss Rita". On Sax we have "Eric Demmer" who played on older records, too.
They all and a few others create a sound full of great Blues with a good shot of Rock. A "Fest" for guitar lovers and definitely one of the best three Blues Rock CD's of 2012! (CD was released Nov./Dec 2011)

Thank You, Mark!