Mark Bragg & The Black Wedding Band
On Bear Music, Mark Bragg takes us to the circus of life with a ringside seat to a cast of carnival characters filtered up through the imagination. Bear Music will be released September 20th in Canada through Maplenationwide/Universal and in Germany through the Bellwether label. The deal with Bellwether is for release of a European version of Bear Music, which will includes 4 tracks from his acclaimed debut The Reckless Kind (nominated for 2 East Coast Music Awards - Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album), He will be showcasing at PopKomm in Berlin September 15th with Matt Mays, The Marble Index, and The Waking Eyes.
Bear Music expands on Bragg’s unique love and understanding of the modern tragic hero while finding inspiration in his childhood home movies and something as banal as a yogurt commercial. He brings us intense vignettes that are further sharpened by the production and mixing acumen of Daryn Barry (Cowboy Junkies, Doc Walker, Blue Rodeo).
Bragg also assembled an ace crew of musicians on this disc with drummers Adam Warner (White Cowbell Oklahoma) and Benn Ross (Thrush Hermit), Brent Randall on bass, Mark Neary (The Novaks) on bass & BG Vocals, Patrick Boyle (Trimmed Naval Beef) Flugelhorn & BG Vocals and Jill Porter BG Vocals. He himself creates sounds equal parts atmospheric and rollicking, on an old Korg CX3 organ and jangly guitars.
Once described as 'what Bruce Springsteen would write if he wrote in all minor keys' Bragg creates vivid and full fledged characters as evidenced by Candy in Plans for the Boys, a tragic woman, who in her suffering from a lost love, decides to trap her hired help into some sort of service beyond their call of duty, or the odd couple Carl and Lorraine; a proud male prostitute and a jealous junkie in Born Trade. Bragg can hint at the darkest aspects of human behavior without describing them outright, allowing the listener to sympathize with the culprit. The “Bear” appears in both Bear and the Barbed Wire and The Bridge as aspects of the child and man.
With the whimsy of Tom Waits, the brat of Geoff Berner and plaintiveness of Neil, Bragg’s Bear Music takes us on a three-ring musical sojourn. As children the circus could frighten, thrill and delight us. Expect no less of Bear Music.
“Like Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village in ’62 or Kurt Cobain in Olympia in ’89, anyone who heard them knew it was just a matter of time… Imagine Tom Waits and Neil Young with Calexico as the backing band, and you begin to get an idea of the breadth of this singer/songwriter’s music.” - NOW Magazine
“It’s a dark, romantic cabaret and he’s got the perfect voice for it. The lyrics are even better…” - London Scene
“Musically, he takes us up to another level. He’s full of sonic surprises.” - Cape Breton Post
“Bragg’s got a film soundtrack to a road movie with a great party scene and a definitely frisky lovemaking tale – stranded, dire, desperate and gorgeous…” - Ottawa XPress