Mark Lucas – COUNTRY UPDATE Review

Little Town Blues

8 June 2015  COUNTRY UPDATE          CLIPPING

The first solo album for a while from Mark Lucas, following a string of albums with his band the Dead Setters see’s him bringing the focus back to the stories and the story teller. This time it seems that Sydney’s “urban cowboy in residence” has hung up his hat and put away his twang in favour of more poetic reflections and ruminations in a more acoustic setting.

To oversee this excursion he’s turned to ex Karma County frontman and Jimmy Little producer.

Brendan Gallagher to help gently steer him into new acoustic musical landscapes with a bunch of songs not really suited to the barroom country rock approach of his band and as a result has made his biggest departure yet from the familiar path of his previous recorded outings. His trademark earnestness comes more into focus with this collection and his wordy compositions much like Canadian Bruce Cockburn are always awash with captivating ideas, vivid imagery and astute observations. Although influences like Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zant are evident his Englishness becomes more apparent in this collection, probably more in the use of the language than its subject matter. The songs range from the title track’s homage to the disenchantment of the working poor, a recurring theme for Lucas, there’s the world weary metaphor’s of the foreboding ‘Dark Side of the Road’ where “there’s solace in the shifting of the load”  when you’re “roaming where the shipless sailors go” and both ‘Small Town’ and ‘Borderline’ explore our ever present longing for connection, pretty universal themes in the spiritual vacuum of today’s world of virtual relationships and increasing social isolation. All in all, another fine addition to the Lucas catalogue.     Kim Cheshire