Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites
Jul 27, 2016 Web Exclusive
Any lover of music for its emotional healing powers would tell you that there are times when all you want to listen to, and all you can really handle right then, is transparency through a voice and a piano in the background. These favorite selections of the enigmatic Mark Kozelek demonstrate a wonderful taste in heartfelt songs that all resonate on this level.
The cultivated selection is a sincere view into what moves Kozelek. There's a late night, back of the parlor essence of Closing Time, the great melancholic tired-soul piano album from Tom Waits, yet with a vocal projection that at times recalls, if not as gracefully, that of Billy Joel on The Stranger. In a way, Kozelek's version of 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" makes you think that the original could have been a cover of his rendition, with a brushing aside of embellished production to pull out the real soul of the tune. And in the case of Bob Seger's "Mainstreet" he finesses a gentler, humbler take, a poignant nod to the old classic.
Further charm is found with the beautifully restrained chiming in of a male choir at moments and spirituous female vocals, as in the Waylon Jennings/Don Williams country love waltz, "Amanda." Kozelek possesses a way with making an already tender ballad made even more tranquil. The closing out of "Float On," with the kind of canyon calls that soared with Volcano Choir, literally brought me to tears.
It has always been pleasantly puzzling how tender Mark Kozelek's music can be, considering how antagonistic he can become in his public demeanor. There is no question he can carry a tune in solitude, like how Bill Callahan can with an acoustic guitar. Something about a covers album raises the question of whether material is hard to come by for an artist, but in this case you get the sense that Kozelek wanted to share songs that get him through, in earnest. It also affords the opportunity to learn more about the origins of great songs that have found their way in to influence a talented singer/songwriter. Kozelek's collection of covers encompass the falls, the folly, and a little of the fancy of life's loves. (www.sunkilmoon.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 7/10
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