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Growing up in New York, Mark Newman’s musical journey has taken him around the world several times as both sideman and singer/songwriter. This ace stringsman (guitar, lap steel, mandolin, dobro) and accomplished songwriter is the type of singer whose warm and expressive voice sounds like an old friend. He put it all together on 2006’s Must Be A Pony (Danal Music, LLC). Now, he takes a quantum leap forward with the stunning Walls Of Jericho (Danal Music. LLC).
Sharing the stage with such notables as soul legend Sam Moore, John Oates, Sting, the late Willy DeVille, Yardbirds drummer Jim Mc Carty and Sam The Sham, has given Newman the perspective to craft an individualistic sound framed in straight-from-the-hip rock’n’roll, simmering with the subtle flavors of blues, R’n’B, funk, folk and soul.
Walls of Jericho is chockfull of intricate guitar work, mixed up front to create a synthesis of pure Americana: folksy charm, arrogant rock, hippie nostalgia (a charming cover of 1969 San Francisco band It’s A Beautiful Day’s “White Bird” that sounds like an old folk song) and Dylanesque moments (“Fire On The Water”).
In describing the album’s sound, Newman contends it’s more fleshed out, more song-oriented. To that end, his lyrical touch has been elevated into the realm of the profound and the universal. In “Taking Pictures,” he writes, “to preserve my memories because you can’t get the moments back once they’re gone.” The first verse is about his son. The second verse is about his father. “He was a real character,” Newman remembers, “right out of a Damon Runyon story: one tough truck driving man with pancreatic cancer who never even once admitted to us he was going down.”
His guitar playing has been compared to that of Duane Allman and Lowell George for years. When he’s not being called upon to add color and flavor to another artist’s vision—which is often—he’s been able to construct, fine-tune and finish such an accomplished piece of work as Walls Of Jericho.