Red Parlor Records/Proper Records
Everything I Love About Americana Music Wrapped and Rolled In 14 Well Told Stories.
Even if today is the first time you’ve ever encountered our little website, you will surely go from this review to our Home Page; and there you will see why Mark Germino holds a place in not just my heart; but the hearts of all our writers too.
His song Rex Bob Lowenstein has been one of my biggest musical influences; telling me that you can have eclectic musical taste and still be cool.
By the time I actually bought a copy of that CD single in a secondhand store, it was probably 3 or 4 years old; but I still cherish it to this day; and it’s been the first song I’ve played on every radio show/series I’ve done …. as it explains ‘what you are about to receive!’
Anyways; leap forward to today; and finally getting my hands on an album of his has been eye-wateringly exciting after all these years.
My eyes nearly popped out of my head as the accordion rocked my speakers off their stands on opener Travelling Man; and when Mark comes in 30 seconds later I very nearly punched the air ….. yes sir; this is going to be my kinda music!
The song has Friday Night hoedown written all over it; and will give a rye smile when you hear him belting out the chorus;
“I met a pretty lady
was the bar room kind
She could hold her liquor
But couldn’t hold mine!”
Although coming from North Carolina; Germino sounds uncannily like Levon Helm; but that’s more likely because he too has a voice that sounds like the man behind it has ‘had a life, well lived’ …. if you know what I mean.
While obviously an acclaimed songwriter in his own rite; Germino also carefully wears his influences on his tattered sleeve; I will leave it for you to guess who I’m talking about on the pathos laden Blessed Are The Ones and The Talking Country-Blues of The Greatest Song Ever Written; which both have the capacity to make your mouth gape wide open the first time you hear them.
#I’d love it for someone to tell me who the female he sings about is; as
“She come from the North East Coast of Great Britain
To write the Greatest Song Ever Written.”
The observations in his songs are extraordinary; Muddy Spoon in a Sugar Bowl mind-blowingly beautiful and Tennessee Trash Disclosure is another Honky-Tonky dance tune that will eventually catch you unawares and the penny will drop.
As a child one of my favourite Favourite TV shows was Casey Jones; and it was nearly 50 years later on Otis Gibbs’ podcast that I found out he was a real person; and Mark uses his Jones here as a metaphor, on Peace Train (John Luther Jones) and I can’t wait to finally see him live so I too can belt out the chorus without fear of being laughed at!
Being such a quality songwriter Germino manages to change the mood and pace brilliantly; courtesy of the sequencing; seamlessly following the Twangfest of Carolina in the Morning with the deceptively complex Finest American Waltz; then hitting you with the sucker punch; Author of My Journey ……. which is a song just crying out to be covered by Kris Kristofferson or Willie Nelson!
Any or all of these songs; and more could or will be my Favourite Track on another day …. but this morning two particular songs have captured my heart, for very different and very personal reasons (which I won’t go into).
The powerful and possibly introspective, Lightning Doesn’t Always Strike The Tallest Tree is one of those songs that has the capacity to make you go “Wow!” then press repeat…. then repeat …… and again, repeat.
The other is the finale; Until The Fat Man Swings; no more and no less than a cracking and indeed crackling, Country Song about a baseball player in ‘the minor leagues’ that again, may or may not be a metaphorical song, but hey; this is everything I love about Americana Music wrapped and rolled in 4 minutes and 19 gloriously observed minutes …… and Andy Leftwich’s fiddle in the background is rather fabulous too!
On the basis of listening to this single album; why oh why isn’t Mark Germino’s name not mentioned in the same breath as Guy, Townes, Rodney and; of course Townes? He can certainly match them note for note and word for word, that’s for sure ……. but hey; sometime we all need a ‘secret love’ don’t we?
Mark Germino just might be new Musical Secret Love!
Released 6th August 2021
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
Listen here to “Lightning Don’t Always Strike The Tallest Tree” – by Mark Germino