Red Line Roots (For A Song)
Mark Erelli's new solo album, For A Song, comes out April 8th. The album feels like the best of Paul Simon or Jackson Browne’s work, telling stories that are immediately relatable and reflective of the small moments in our lives. It is Mark’s first album of original material in six years, in part because he’s been cranking on other projects, including as a producer for Lori McKenna, as a sideman for Paula Cole and Josh Ritter, and as one-fifth of the insanely fun and talented Barnstar!
For A Song reflects incredible craftsmanship with these songs. The arrangements are so tight and spare, leaving plenty of room for Mark’s voice to convey the sincerity of each song. A favorite is definitely the title track, underscoring the physical distance a songwriter experiences from his family, which can often translate into emotional distance pretty quickly. Erelli sings: “The road is not your friend, it’s just a means to an end. / How I wish I could take you along. / But I’ll take it all on faith, you’ll understand someday. / Why I did all I did while I was gone. / For a song.” Echoes of this distance and dislocation are evident throughout the album, from the gorgeous opening track “Oklahoma” (“I’m so far away from home / and I’m feeling low and lonesome tonight.”) to “Analog Hero,” about a man whose hands-on skills seem less and less relevant in the digital world (but, of course, “If he can’t put it back together, then it was never worth a damn”). All of that said, it’s not a sad album–we won’t need a “Cheer Up Mark Erelli” instagram. No, For A Song, feels more reflective and you feel a bit clearer after listening, understanding what is really important and what is just noise.
by Ken Templeton