The record is highly influenced by Neil Young's "Harvest", an album which I am forever trying to replicate (notice the pedal steel, drum sounds, and friendly guest performances) "Lone Pilgrim part 1" started off as a "forgotten lyric" version of the traditional "Lone Pilgrim", a masterful rendition can be found on Bob Dylan's "World Gone Wrong" record - which I still can't get enough of. The two songs go so well together lyrically and share so much of the same longing, soulful vibe that the idea to put them together seemed natural and formed the nucleus of the album. So much so in fact that the original title for the record was almost 'Ballads of the Lone Pilgrim'. "Gasoline" was edited so much during its writing that nothing remains of the original song. I had to cut a final verse for the sake of length which I included in the liners to satisfy my artistic sensibilities (damn it... ah, I'll do it on the live version) Jericho had to undergo the scrutiny of producer, Jim Foster and so went under the knife: verse two was cleaned up only days before laying down the main vocal track. "Working Poor" was another 'humming as I walk down the street' construct that reached its album form over a 6 month rewrite. The 'live' tracks (Dirge, Aberdeen, Goodbyes Said...) were produced by John Bottomley at Baker Street studio over a two day session. Inspiration supplied by Dylan's "John Wesley Harding", "Desire", and "Planet Waves", and once again, Neil Young's "Harvest". The atmosphere in the studio was so good over the two days that I was sad to leave. The drum sound was very important and took some time to get right. We'd go back and forth from our drum sound to Young's 'Out on the Weekend' until the sounds were close. It took tons of napkins, tape, hand cloths, and blankets to get. Then we had to sweet talk Pat to avoid any rim shots.
500 Miles was written for Kyle Schaefer, a friend and fan who was killed riding his motorcycle after one of our gigs. We did it country-style, live of the floor and then added Charlie Hase on the pedal steel. I liked the song too much to leave it off the record but felt it didn't fit so we made it a 'ghost track' (the idea was Trina Ferguson's, another of our fans and a friend) and appears about 10 minutes after 'Lone Pilgrim (part 2)'. Dirge was written a few years ago and is based around a melody borrowed from Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (which gets credit on the record, although since the song is over 8 minutes long I doubt he'll ever get any royalties) The (harmonica) solo section is trying a bit to sound like it's "The Band", which I like. It's a bleak song about a dead girl so we wanted a brooding thing but there's also a celebration element to it. Goodbyes Said To Everybody wound up being the most commercial song on the record which is ironic because it almost didn't make the album. The song was written two weeks before going into the studio and was a throw in for the session - the group barely knew the song and I wanted to play some stuff just to keep us loose. Sarah Craig and I found an old Wurlitzer and the song just came together. The song was written while I watched 'Sunset Boulevard' which is where the first line comes from. Pretty well all of the John Bottomley sessions were done live off the floor. Some vocal overdubs were done and also my harmonica parts and Wurlitzer.
P.S. Aberdeen, 500m were left off the record in the end - you'll just have to wait.
ABOUT MARK BROWNING:
The title 'hardest working man in show business' may have found a new home. Canadian, Vancouver based singer/songwriter and recording artist Mark Browning has for the past five years earned that title with gritty determination, endurance, and heart. A bold statement to be sure, given the likes of James Brown and Stompin' Tom Connors, both unofficial candidates for the moniker. But with the character of an old time hockey player and the stamina of a race horse, Browning has become a Canadian grass roots sensation.
Embarking on the ambitious coast to coast "YEARS OF SADNESS" Canadian national tour, Browning boarded a Greyhound bus in Vancouver on May 5th, 2000 - he didn't arrive home from the tour until December 23rd. Along the way... 10 provinces, 2 states, 36 cities, 98 performances, 629 hours travelled, and over 30,000km of mileage logged. And, in true do-it-yourself 'folk-hero' style, Browning took on bookings, publicity, record distribution, and tour management himself. Who says musicians don't work hard...
Captivating the imagination of fans and media alike, the West Coast Music Award 2001 nominee ("Male Artist Of The Year ") has become the regular subject of newspaper articles and radio/television programs - all fascinated by a figure who steadfastly goes about the jaded business of rock & roll the old fashioned way - with blood & sweat, heart & soul. True to type, Browning shuns the usual mentors, Radiohead, Kurt Cobain, Elliott Smith, etc. In fact, he's likely not even heard their music - instead, the self-confessed 'dinosaur' treasures vinyl and cites the names Stephen Stills, Bob Dylan, John Cale, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band among his many influences.
But even if Mark Browning does not chase the modern world, it invariably chases him. The release of the FACTOR funded record, "YEARS OF SADNESS" in April of 2000 co-incided with a state-of-the-art website (www.oxmusic.ws). In addition, the release of the videoFACT funded, and MUCH MUSIC aired video "GASOLINE" (directed by Warren Sonoda) have all conspired to bring the reluctant, wandering minstrel-like artist into the realm of the modern day recording artist.
Check out the artist's website:
2. Horses & Whitewater Rain
3. Goodbyes Said To Everybody
5. Cinnamon Mountain
6. Working Poor
7. Lone Pilgrim (part 1)
9. Lone Pilgrim (part 2)