Reviewed by Tony Cummings
The eccentrically named John Called Mark is also one John Evenson, a lawyer out of Ohio who rather than spending his legal fees in condos, cars and the rich life, has poured some of his resources back into his twin loves, Jesus and blues music, and financed an album which, in every way, fulfils his desire to make "gospel with guts". In this the singer/songwriter is helped on 'Songs From The Basement' by a legendary engineer/producer Jim Gaines credits include Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana}and a hand-picked band of blues rock musicians (Larry McCray's turbulent lead guitar licks are a constant delight). Not that this is a vanity project where a minor musical talent lays down the readies to indulge his ego trips. This guy has the chops, a gritty, emotive voice, rather like Larry Howard. As well as the rootsy blues cuts, John is able to handle soulful ballads, where he's aided by some righteous sisters and even a siring section plucked from Indianapolis Symphony. The songs themselves are full of clever imagery (eg, "If you want to walk on water, you've got lo gel out of the boat" or "Then I crawled in the bottle and I didn't come out too long") and if you're looking for bluesy, honest music which finely balances gutsy authenticity and state-of-the-art contemporary feel, John Called Mark is an artist you should take the trouble to investigate.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out