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Mark Houser and Bluegrass Drive / Press

“The title track shares the same sentiment, with the singer asking the one he loves to just let him “bear [her] gently down life’s uneven road.” The music on this album is excellent. Houser has assembled some first rate pickers to serve as his band, referred to on the album as Bluegrass Drive. Houser takes lead vocal duty throughout the album, in addition to playing guitar. Also featured are Cody Kilby (guitar and banjo), Andy Leftwich (fiddle and mandolin), Cory Walker (banjo), Barry Bales (bass), and Scotty Sanders (dobro). This group obviously has a firm grasp on how to play fine contemporary bluegrass, and as a result, Uneven Road is a very enjoyable listen. While he is relatively new to the bluegrass world as an artist, Mark Houser isn’t a stranger to the music itself. For more information on Houser and his music, visit www.markhouserbluegrass.com. (page 3 of 3)”

“When one of the characters sees his preacher father “hold ‘em under in the mighty Mississippi, ”it’s not exactly baptism he’s referring to. Delilah is another fine song, sharing the thoughts of a man who wonders if the woman he killed knows he is about to be executed for his crime. The dobro and fiddle on this track work well to create a lonesome sound. Several of Houser’s songs have been recorded by Carrie Hassler, including this album’s opening track. Hard Rain, which also provided the name for Hassler’s band, is a driving song about a man who is trying to get home to the country as soon as he can. Hassler is also a cowriter on the clever River of Regret. Uneven Road also contains several songs which are more cheerful. Houser’s love songs are sweet and mellow, with a gentle vocal delivery. I’ll Be Alright and Reasons Why are reminiscent of Don Williams, both sharing the singer’s undying devotion. (page 2 of 3)”

“Singer-songwriter Mark Houser has bluegrass running through his veins. As Lester Flatt’s cousin, it’s no surprise that he has spent his whole life listening to bluegrass music. Though he has previously recorded a country album and written several songs which have been recorded by bluegrass artists, his first effort at a bluegrass album is the recently released Uneven Road. This twelve-song collection from Rural Rhythm Records offers listeners a solid contemporary bluegrass listening experience. Houser is credited as writer or co-writer on all twelve of the album’s songs. The tracks range from tender love songs to dark tales of murder and regret. The darker end of the spectrum is where the album’s standout tracks can be found, particularly John the Baptist, a tale of preachers gone bad with a nice groove and hints of recent Mountain Heart and Ricky Skaggs in the music. (page 1 of 3)”

“In the socially conscious vein and one of the best tracks here is Houser's and Mark Conklin's look at the Civil Rights struggle. "When Standin' Up Stood For Something." It's always good when songs break free from the usual thematic axis, and this one does so with importance. In contrast to the positivity is the propulsive opener, "Hard Rain" written with Jimmy Bilbrey. It is an old down-and outer, but a good one and one that first saw light on Carrie Hassler's debut. Then there's "John the Baptist" the dark, semi- funky tale of a preacher with a past and of the bad end he finds. That's followed a track later by "Wish I Owned That Land" in which Houser (and Nielsen) rail against the disillusionment that often comes with progress. A heavy sense of tension and anger emerges with that one, but still a highlight song. Pleasant, uplifting, socially- conscious or ominous, this good debut is strengthened by some of Nashville's best players and by Houser's even-tempered and warm barione vocals”

“It has been 24 years since songwriter Mark Houser's first recording. This is his second. In between he wrote and co-wrote songs for a number of performers, most notably Carrie Hassler and The Roys. “Uneven Road” ties many of these threads together. Houser wrote the title song and "I'll Be There." Both of them are gentle and medium-paced and both of them use the theme of the need we have for and the strength we gain from loving support. "Uneven Road" succeeds the best of the two mostly for its almost anthem-like melody. But they're both pleasant and uplifting songs. Similarly pleasant and uplifting is "Lead Me Home" one of ten songs Houser co-wrote here, in this case with Reed Nielsen. Again, the theme addressed is the value of support, but here the support asked for and received comes from God. Given a slow, pleading setting, the emotion it creates is quite palpable. (part 1 or 2)”

“December 19, 2012: Mark Houser and Bluegrass Drive’s Uneven Road named one of Top 10 Bluegrass albums in 2012- Wisconsin Joe (Heartland Bluegrass Show-The Bluegrass Mix) “Uneven Road is a gem from Mark Houser. Great writing gives this album that something special that will keep you playing it again and again. From the title cut "Uneven Road" let me bear you gently down life's uneven road, to "The Little Children", a beautiful prayer for our children, 13 tracks that tell a story of life we can all relate too. A very well produced album with impeccable instrumentation and strong vocals is what makes this album a pleasure, a must have bluegrass album! One of my picks for the best of 2012.” Joe Stutzman Wisconsin Joe, host of Heartland Bluegrass (#9) in 2012 TOP 10 Bluegrass Albums ”

“LIVINGSTON -- Mark Houser didn't set out to become a recording artist on a bluegrass label. At age 53, the singer-songwriter had primarily spent the last three decades pitching his songs to others in the music industry. But Saturday in his hometown of Livingston, Houser will be the one taking center stage at a CD release party to promote his first album, Uneven Road, which will be officially released by Rural Rhythm Records on Sept. 11. The concert event, "Bluegrass on the Green," is being hosted by radio personality Philip Gibbons of the Country Giant and will feature five acts in addition to Houser just off the courthouse square. Read more: Herald Citizen - Livingston artist CD release party Saturday Read more: Herald Citizen - Livingston artist CD release party Saturday”

““Song reaches number six on Bluegrass Unlimited Survey. Songwriters Mark Houser and Jimmy Bilbrey have a bluegrass hit on their hands. Their song "Seven Miles from Wichita," recorded by Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain, is now in the number six spot on Bluegrass Unlimited's National Bluegrass Survey. "I just loved it the first time I heard it," said Hassler. "It's my favorite song off the album.” — Margaret Shuster, Herald Citizen”

Margaret Shuster - Cookeville Herald Citizen
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