Referred sometimes by Carolyn Mark herself as “the other Corn Sister”
and by others as “Ethel Merman’s other, funnier sister” — and once knighted “Drunk of the Week” by Seattle’s The Stranger — Victoria, BC’s Carolyn Mark brings us The Pros and Cons of Collaboration.
Following up on Party Girl (her debut) and 2002’s Terrible Hostess, The Pros and Cons of Collaboration is further evidence of rightful Carolyn’s position as one of North America’s most lovingly appreciated — if underrated — roots/country stars.
Carolyn had a spring and summer of 2003 intense and intensive touring throughout North America. Either solo or with her band, The New Best Friends, Carolyn travelled throughout the land, highlighted by impressive shows in Western and Central Canada, at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City, up and down the US West Coast, and in her favourite US cities Seattle, Chicago, and San Francisco. As well, Carolyn performed a number of special engagements with Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, the three women singing harmonies with each other’s songs before awestruck audiences.
The fall and winter months of 2003 were spent cooped up in the studio, recording The Pros and Cons. at Lucky Mouse, the studio owned and run by bandmate and roommate Tolan McNeil (whose recent projects have included Frog Eyes, Rae Spoon, Chet and Fine Options).
As with her previous releases, The Pros and Cons features a plethora of familiar — and not so familiar — names, including Ford Pier, Kelly Hogan, Greg MacDonald (from Peppersands), Diona Davies (Po’Girl), Paul Pigat (played on Neko Case’s debut album), Paul Rigby (Bocephus King, and also a Neko musician), Tolan McNeil (who has played on all of Carolyn’s albums), and others.
The album’s theme, too, is what we have all grown to love with our Anti-Party Pooper Queen, as shown by such songs as “2 Days Smug and Sober,” “The Wine Song,” “Slept All Afternoon,” and “Hangover.” With an ascerbic bite that was always apparent in Carolyn’s live shows, this sassy slap-in-the-face wit has found its way into the lyrics (“Lower your standards and I’ll lower mine. You’ve got your outlets and I’ve got my wine…. More in love with this cigarette than I’ll ever be with you.”). The Pros and Cons of Collaboration is all about wine, regret, hangovers, and more wine.
Some press for The Pros And Cons Of Collaboration:
"Victoria's main dame of country has made one hot and hilarious third album, a vibrant caboodle of rowdy boot-stompers and sweet weepers aided and abetted by about 21 friends, among them B.C. scenesters Ford Pier (keys) and Tolan McNeil (guitar), and Chicago's Kelly Hogan (vox, piano), the third Corn Sister. Speaking of which, there's no Neko Case, aside from a namedrop in "Vincent Gallo," Mark's lightheart-ed exploration of subconscious crushes. Whether she's dissing Toby Keith, gibing white wine-drinking men or beating herself up over a bottle of red, Mark sings it smart and savvy. " 8/10 (Lorraine Carpenter)
"Finally Carolyn Mark, Neko Case's Victoria crony, shows off as much as she should. This aptly titled record, full of Coastal alt-country scene co-conspirators, listens like a diary of Mark's West Coast world of drinkin', couch-surfin' and heartbreak. Rippers like 2 Days Smug and Sober (punctuated by superlative Po'Girls fiddler Diona
Davies) ought to put one of our
country's best country songwriters in the pantheon for good. The lyric sheet begins with a cocktail recipe (for a Bourbon Decay). Yes, Carolyn Mark is your kind of girl.
4 stars (Edmonton Sun,Edmonton AB)