Real Special Feelin'
In 1992, a year when singer/songwriter
Mark Brine received two preliminary
Grammy nominations (Best Country Male Vocalist and Best Country Song),
Billboard referred to him as the "Wild Blue Yodeler". Since that time, he
has lived up to the description, skillfully yodeling his way in and through
the wild blue yonder, while also combining a mixture of traditional sounds,
from straight-out folk to a more alternative style country, in his singing.
On his third independently
released album, Real Special Feelin', Brine keeps
his own tradition alive by recreating a vocal style some have rightfully
compared to folk singer Arlo Guthrie. Having grown up around the 60's folk
scene, the Cambridge, Massachusetts native comes by the sound naturally and
remains true to his roots throughout the CD.
"Real Special Feelin'", the
title track and opening cut, sets the mood for
the album with simple guitar strums and light piano work in the
background. From the up tempo praises of "You Sure Got A Way" to "I've
Always Been A Sucker For Your Smile", a sweet tale of what a man will do in
the name of love, the songs take a stand on their own, without a need for
overly done instrumentals or electrical replacements. Brine, who wrote
twelve of the fourteen songs included on the Wild Oats Records release,
shows here an obvious respect for the music, by allowing it to flow
instinctively as it will.
With this trust in the music,
knowing that it will lead him to his destined
performance, Mark "wakes up in time" on the sad verses of "I Woke Up In
Time", before moving into the past-reflecting tune of "When The Moon Was In
The Sky". Beyond the mid tempo beat of "If Your Thoughts Are Ever Mine",
"Aggie" settles on another gander at past love, while "Dear Jessie" takes a
more tragic look at the inspiration of love.
Although each song on the
album proves to have its own story to tell, its
own journey to follow, the final three songs have become our favorites of
the album. "Now's The Time I Need You Most", with its spiritual
resemblances, has a gospel flavor as it rocks and sways into the softer
shades of the last two ballads. "You're My Songs" and "Always You" have
similar romantic themes, with an achingly emotional pull coming straight
from Mark's heart.
He has been singing for quite
a while now, and has maintained the sincerity
heard in his voice since the beginning. Combining all of his early
influences, from country and the blues to his passion for folk, Brine lives
up to the laudable media attentions he's received, and he has truly earned
his title of the "Wild Blue Yodeler". With a unique sound, comparable to
so few these days, we expect to hear a lot more from this artist.