Somewhere Else - Rummage (Cannery Records)
This album is a diverse tapestry illustrating the diversity of the American music landscape.
It has taken me quite a few listens for “Somewhere Else” to sink into my bones. After the third, fourth and fifth listen I was amazed at the variety of this album’s 12 tunes.
This album really does take you through the whole gamut of what is good and bad about American music.
Scots-born Mark Mulholland (guitar, vocals, bouzouki and banjo) has been in quite a few bands over the years (see this website for details.) On this album, he gets together with a couple of friends in Rusty Miller (drums, vocals, guitar, bass and organ) and James Finch Jr (bass, vocals, baritone guitar and drums) to help out on some songs he’d been working on for some time.
They got together in in San Francisco 2014 and set to work to lay down some inspiring songs. Locking themselves away, as they put it, for five days of 18 hours blocks of music madness.
These recordings start with a mild little rocker called “Ebb and Flow” followed by a couple of smokey blues songs in “Give Me a Ride” and “Less Than Tomorrow”. There is no re-inventing the wheel here but they are good tunes. Next up, a bit of country: “Smoke Trails”. This is where the album get a bit good old boy for me. Let me say this I like country music but not all country music likes me, and this is where this record gets a bit stale for my taste.
Don’t give up on the CD folks. Next up is a great little tune called “Fucked Up Again”> Does this song hit home! I’m sure everyone who hears this tune will relate…well, maybe not everyone but most people I know. (YES WE HAVE ALL DONE IT! Be honest now.)
“Hoodathunkit” is a classic raw-to-the-bones rock ’n’ roller and, in my humble opinion, the stand-out track on this album. The bass guitar work is inspiring and it just rolls out of the speakers. It’s like the man is in your living room playing. I just love this track.
“Claret Blues” and “Dreaming of Trains” are catchy pop songs that will have you toe tapping, hand clapping, head bopping maybe even jumping about just a little bit, too.
There are a couple of more country songs that I’m sure lovers of that kind of music will like/love. The title track “Somewhere Else” is a very well written song. Mark Mulholland is is a wordsmith and a poet. The lyrics are amazing and this is the second-best tune on the album.
“Flood of Memories” ends this album with just a nod to the melancholy, late night red wine upper-class folks sitting around their open fire after a three-course meal…discussing all the indifference in the world and how they can change it. It’s a bit depressing, to be honest…
Would I play this album next month, next year or never? Well, the country songs will be fast-forwarded, without doubt. The rest of “Somewhere Else” is quite good. It will be one of those albums, for me, that will probably get a spin now and again. Then, one day (say 10 years from now), if I’m still around, I’ll put it on and think" "‘Yeah that’s a good album, should play it more often" but then I probably won't. So, it’s my humble way of saying that it’s a good album, just not great.
(And these views on country music are the express opinion of the author. Most of it is shit. Not all, but most.)