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Mark Geary
Opium
Sona BLAST! Records
www.markgeary.com


Chances are you've never heard of Mark Geary. But honestly, Mark Geary is without a doubt one of the greatest songwriters you've never heard. Like David Gray in the 1990s, Geary has been criminally overlooked, but consistently turns out some amazing records that sell a few copies to the few people on the planet that are already hip to his jive. Like Gray before him, Geary began his career releasing albums that were very basic, focused more on his songwriting than on large-scale productions and glitz. Like Gray before him, Geary has turned from a fierce, angry, independent songwriter to a more relaxed, beauty-focused writer… one listen to opening track "Cold Little Fire" is proof of that. Gone is the immediate fire of the songs, replaced by a more mature, countrified sound that allows the ear to hear softly, rather than with the almost punk-like ferocity of his earlier records. "Angel" has a bit more of the relaxed AAA sound than his previous works, but a deep sincerity of the kind that is sorely lacking in most of the genre. "See-Saw" has rhythmic percussion solidly carrying the beat while Geary's voice has a hint of Glen Hansard in its beauty, while "Atrophy" has a simple sound, more vocals and fingerpicked acoustic guitar, that reminds more of Josh Ritter's early records. Opium wraps with the amazingly dynamic quiet of "Wake Up"… the track has light keyboards behind brushed drumming and beautiful guitar work, sounding just a bit like Peter Bradley Adams.

If all of this sounds good to you, and you go out and get yourself a copy of Opium, then I suggest you backtrack a bit and get yourself copies of Ghosts and 33 1/3 Grand Street while you're at it… because just like David Gray before him, Geary did his best work in a fierce, minimalist state; acoustic guitar and voice making for the strongest and finest songs someone with this much talent can turn out.

-L. Keane

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