Review : Mark Collie - Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary
Country Standard TimeIn the early '90s, Mark Collie was a rising Nashville star. Part of the wave of Neo-Traditionalists like Mark Chesnutt and Neal McCoy (both of whom he refers to on this live album), Collie landed a couple of top 10 hits and made several albums for MCA. For whatever reasons, Collie slid pretty quickly off the radar after signing with Giant Records, where he released his last major studio album in 1995. "Alive At Bushy Mountain" should give Collie some well-deserved attention; however, it should have done that for him a decade ago. This live album, along with an accompanying (and still unreleased) documentary film, was made back in 2001. Unfortunately, when the album was finished, it wound up on the shelf due to circumstances like management changes at his label.
It is easy to have trepidations about an album sitting around for a decade. However, "Alive" is a totally compelling CD that shows no signs of aging. Outside of references to a then-still-living Johnny Cash and the presence of the now-late Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, it sounds like a recently recorded performance.
While this live album, which Collie co-produced with then MCA executive Tony Brown and one-time Prince collaborator David Z, might not equal his hero's work, it is definitely a terrific effort that deserves to be heard. Collie is in excellent form here - rough-edged and energized - while performing gritty tunes that ring with truth. Hopefully the belated release will bring some of redemption that Collie sings about to himself as well....full text
Music New NashvilleIn my opinion, Mark Collie may very well be one of the most underrated Country artists in the past quarter-century. His 1990 debut Hardin County Line stands as one of my favorite albums of all time. Though he did achieve radio success with songs like “Let Her Go” and “Even The Man In The Moon Is Crying,” I don’t think he ever got the full credit for his talent that he is due.
I think that’s about to change with the release of this new live disc, recorded at Tennessee’s Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. Recorded over a decade ago, but kept on the shelf, this album kicks off with the driving sound of “One More Second Chance,” and keeps churning along from there. “I Could’ve Gone Right” is a pure Haggard / Cash sound on which Collie excels.
He wisely features the incredible Kelly Willis on “Heaven Bound” and “Got A Feelin’ For You,” as well as a gorgeous cover of “Why Me Lord.” Even though a decade old, it’s amazing to realize what a talent Willis is. Shawn Camp steps into the spotlight on “Dead Man Runs Before He Walks,” which is also a winner....full text
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