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Mark Searcy Band
©2011 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd

$12.49 (CD)


Yowza!  That’s what you’ll exclaim as the opening cut grabs your attention on the latest release from acclaimed Mark Searcy Band.  Ginger Pickett’s vocal work on the lead off “Voodoo Woman” sets the tone for the project.  Kori Hubbard takes over on vocals on “What You Are” and the excellence continues.  Searcy surrounds himself with a host of talent including Louie Real and Carlos Escobedo (which you might have seen with the Wolf Sisters) and Jeff Keast on keys.  Searcy’s band also includes Texas Music Awards 2011 Nominee Rick Boss on harmonica.  With this collection of pickers, it’s no wonder that this is Searcy’s best work to date.  The dynamic of the album is varied without breaking genre.  The blues are intertwined with jazz and gospel influences for a new sound that makes Searcy’s band a truly hot commodity on the music scene today.  Searcy has come a long way from the grass-roots purity of BLINDMAN’S BLUES and has a more commercial feel these days.  There are times in the music when you can feel his connection to his upbringing, but for the most part, he has moved on to the next phase of his music.  Searcy pens the majority, peppers in a few co-writes with Hubbard, Boss, and others, and covers a couple of classics.  Mark takes the microphone on but one cut, the raucous “Wang Dang Love Thang” to close the album.  The flow of the album is one of the best features of the album, which is why it should be a felony to buy one song from an album.  Artists go into the studio and lay down an album, a collection, a project, of which they have spent countless hours debating and even arguing about the order of the songs.  Why?  The order doesn’t matter if you’re going to let people strip your creativity one download at a time.  This is why only allows full album downloads.  Whatever you do, make sure you listen to this disc in the order it is displayed.  Unless you do, you will miss the emotion and passion with which it was recorded.  Searcy puts together nine cuts of pure entertainment and it should be enjoyed exactly has he envisioned it.  I usually don’t advise artists to self-produce, and in the early days, Searcy might have been better served by hiring out a producer, but the road, the work, and the experience have brought Mark Searcy to the point where he not only is masterful at this self-production, but he would be a good candidate as producer for any artist serious about capturing true expression on disc.  The highlight of the disc is the sultry performance by Kori Hubbard on “Chocolate and Cherries.”  This epic recording is best experienced with over-the-ears headphones, cigar in hand, eyes closed, and the smell of whiskey nearby.  It doesn’t take much to transform yourself to a magical place, the likes of which haven’t existed since the demise of Generic Joe’s on Sixth Street.  Searcy is not Memphis, Chicago, or New Orleans.  Searcy is Texas, the red, the white, and the blues.

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Mark Searcy