November 2, 2002

Exciting young singer-songwriter talent

— Mark Erelli —

Mark Erelli fter sharing the stage at a recent concert, Grammy winner Dave Alvin said with a smile, "If I had a voice like Mark Erelli, I could go places." It's hard to imagine a better testimony to what more and more music lovers are discovering everyday.

ark filled our auditorium tonight with a diverse program of exciting songs. His work varied from strong charged anthems to tender delicate ballads from both of his recent albums, as well as an unrecorded (yet) great new bluesy tribute to his new wife. As a surprise guest he brought to the stage Beth Amsel, who has been touring with Mark, to accompany him on several songs. Her strong clear voice lent depth and drama and emotions to his work. After a standing ovation, Mark returned to do an unplugged unamped emotional version of Patsy Cline's Crazy, which was his best piece of the evening by unanimous acclaim.

ark Erelli is a potent and powerful new voice in American music. In the wake of his first CD release, critics scrambled to define what was so special about him. With songs that sounded "fresh yet oddly familiar, like something rediscovered on old 78s found in your grandparents' cellar (Billboard)," Erelli was hailed as "one of the most versatile, tuneful new singer/songwriters (Boston Herald).".

is intense and vibrant performances converted the uninitiated to believers, and propelled him to the top of his class as a winner of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk contest in 1999. Two years later, his sophomore release Compass & Companion is an album that will suck you in and keep you rapt from start to finish. Maybe it's the voice, a sandy tenor with startling emotional honesty, that will hook you in. Or perhaps it will be the songs, intelligent and electrifying all at once, that will keep you coming back for more. Most likely it will be the whole package, something truly greater than the sum of its parts, that will keep your finger glued to the "repeat" button on your CD player for weeks on end.

omeone recently asked me if there is an angle or story that makes this album stand out from all the others vying for the public's attention," says Erelli. "I didn't really know what to say. I've never been in jail, I'm not a recovering addict, and I've never lived out of my car! I just tried to write a batch of really good songs." One listen to Compass & Companion and a simple truth is revealed: — sometimes that's all it takes to make people stand up and pay attention.

Praises for his performances:

  • "A highly distinctive vocalist whose taut warble and saturnine songs weave an often-absorbing spell..."

  • "His passionate, reedy tenor is a unique instrument that he puts to full effect on his own songs, which are shadowy charcoal sketches of late-century American life..."
      New Britain Herald

  • "Captures the essence of mankind's strengths and frailties with consummate ease..."
      f Roots

Link to his web site