Palmwood Music: Press
From The Neck Up
Review By: Ginger Coyote
If you dig The Bouncing Souls or NOFX you will really enjoy Thick Thread from Texas. Thick Tread is an assault of Punk Rawk at it's best . It goes right for the jugular vein . The tracks are relentless, intelligent, blunt and catchy hardcore music raging at the speed of hot boiling oil. If you are looking for something loud, hardcore and fast, you have found it with Thick Tread. I enjoyed "Let It Burn" and "From The Neck Up" the most.. But all the tracks are good... Buy this CD!!
Check out Barefoot Mark’s review at:
Artist: Barefoot Mark
Album: Let The Beast Run
Reviewed by Rhonda Readence
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Combining country, blues and rock into a pleasing blend of artistry, West Texas musician Barefoot Mark will hold listeners captive with his melodic voice, twangy guitar and sultry blues rhythms. Christened Mark Cullimore, Barefoot Mark’s album Let The Beast Run is a stunning example of the ease with which this musician can combine genres of music as smoothly as an artist lays paint on canvas. The album opens with “Florsheim Shackles,” and he sings precisely what every red-blooded American thinks at some point during the workday. He highlights the drudgery of being shackled, as it were, in the world of the working class. Although the lyrics are not exactly uplifting, the rhythm with which the words are delivered make it into something energizing and invigorating. Barefoot Mark’s country influence is evident and this track is perfectly at home in a rowdy saloon where the working class goes to unwind.
“Her Shoes” continues this theme with a strong country/honky tonk vibe. A foot-tapping number that will get people dancing, fans will clamor to hear this song performed live. The rhythm changes to more of a blues feel on “Thin Ice,” and Barefoot Mark’s vocals are delivered with a seductive smoothness that is enthralling. The sound quality is excellent and the overall essence of this piece is one of calm professionalism. “You’re Not At Home” starts off with some wailing rock guitar that quickly becomes bluesy. With biting lyrics and some nice harmonizing within, this piece embodies the timeless talent of this artist and the musicians with whom he plays.
Let The Beast Run then takes a turn into some serious blues licks with “Nothing Personal,” where Barefoot Mark lets loose a little and shows off his vocal range. “Crack, Bang, Boom” continues the country blues essence that he does so well with dark, extremely well-written lyrics. The guitar work is wonderful and the rhythm section keeps the song moving with polished and clean performances.
Perhaps the most intricate, melodic and creative piece on Let The Beast Run is “Last Gasp,” which may call to mind Led Zeppelin’s song “Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You.” Mark’s voice is polished silk. The guitar work is phenomenal, the blues rhythm will bring listeners to their knees, and the lyrics are delivered with rough emotion conveying a sense of hope in the midst of despair. With excellent instrumentation, this is a sure hit. The title track, “Let The Beast Run,” picks up the pace with a down home rock ‘n’ roll foot-tapping beat, and the high leads into a story of infidelity on “Ain’t You Ashamed.” With a light rhythm and a snappy drumbeat, this piece carries the barest touch of jazz in the midst of Barefoot Mark’s signature country blues vibe. The vocals are crisp and clear, which is the norm for this artist, and the sound quality is flawless. “Alright To Be Me” slows it down with light guitar work and lyrics that will provide comfort and assurance to anyone who has experienced self-doubt (which would be everyone). Let The Beast Run then ends with “Ronnie’s Blues,” which is quite simply a beautiful piece of music.
In the making of this album, Barefoot Mark has shown that he is a diverse artist that can couple country, blues and rock into a pleasing symphony of sound. Listeners will only have to hear the opening track to understand that he is a skilled vocalist and songwriter. The musicians that accompany him are clearly talented, professional and perform with enviable skill. But above all of these attributes, what listeners will like most about this album is the attitude with which the music is played. Each song carries a unique essence and this makes the entire album a true pleasure to behold.
Review by Dan MacIntosh
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)
It can’t be easy for white bluesmen to get respect. It’s just not really the white man’s tradition, and there may be doubt that white guys really know what suffering is all about. However, when artists show that they know how to play the music and invest tangible feeling into their performances, you just have to give them some deserved regards. Barefoot Mark is one who is deserving of such.
Before we can even get to the point of discussing Barefoot Mark’s music, however, the artist’s relationship with shoes and feet must be addressed. He calls himself Barefoot Mark, yet the very first two songs on his excellent new CD involve footwear, and for very different reasons. The opening track, “Florsheim Shackles,” is all about those dress shoes that working businesspersons are required to wear. They’re like the shackles that keep us chained to some sort of imagined employment slavery. If we could just untie those suckers for good, Barefoot Mark speculates, maybe we could free ourselves forever. The very next song, “Her Shoes,” talks about a woman’s relationship with her high heels. At first, walking with these dangerous things is like a circus performer mastering stilts. As soon as a pedestrian level of mastery has been accomplished, however, these spiked foot casings can be used to attract males. Her shoes aren’t shackles; they’re communication tools, instead. Kudos go out to Barefoot Mark for taking such a simple thing as shoes and creating two very fine songs.
If Barefoot only had to think about shoes, perhaps his life would likely be less painful. However, many of these songs deal with love gone bad, which is a matter of heart and soul, rather than feet. “You’re Not At Home” faces a cheater pointblank by pointing out how he knows where she is when she’s not home. If there’s one artist that comes to mind when listening to Barefoot Mark, it is Robert Cray. This is especially apparent during “Crack, Bang, Boom” where a woman takes justice into her own hands. Is it any coincidence that something called “Smoking Gun” is one of Cray’s most popular songs? I don’t think so.
Barefoot Mark plays stinging electric blues mingled with classic rock and a soulful singing style. These are not rollicking Chicago blues songs, nor are they sparse Southern blues recordings. Instead, they are crisp, heartfelt, yet still rocking tracks. The title track, “Let the Beast Run,” includes a driving rock rhythm, colored by twanging electric guitar. It’s a little blues-y, but it’s just as much rock & roll. It’s the kind of song that wouldn’t sound all that out of place in the Dire Straits repertoire.
The image a name like Barefoot Mark conjures up is that of someone that ignores social conventions. (Just remember, many restaurants post, ‘No shirt, no shoes, no service’ signs on their front doors). This artist name suggests a guy that likes to relax, with shoes in the corner of the room and rarely used, holding a comfortable guitar in his hand. This is exactly the kind of guy that would view dress shoes as Florsheim shackles. Nevertheless, as healing, as the blues can be, in can never completely set a person free. These songs reveal how broken hearts are more powerful emotional chains than shined up shoes.
Barefoot Mark deserves to be heard by anyone that enjoys inspired musicianship and real life lyrics. If you let Barefoot Mark’s beat run wild in your iPod, you will not be disappointed. There is nothing particularly innovative found within. Instead, what is tried and true is done extremely well.
But for every ingenue like Sahara Smith, who's produced by T-Bone Burnett, you have a songstress like Terry Mills, who will get her own fine album recorded in San Angelo and Nashville and mastered in Austin.
This is a translation of an article originally written in DUTCH. See weblink for the Dutch version.
There’s no shortage in singing women in this world. From screaming to more conservative types. From beautiful to less attractive. From innocent to experienced. When the American Terry Mills was 14 years old, she discovered that you can play folk songs on a guitar with 5 cord schemas. She then immediately stopped with her piano lessons. At 16, she performed the classic House of the Rising Sun by Woody Guthrie. Gary Laney was asked to produce “Man Behind The Curtain”, the debut CD of the singer, who has been in this business for 20 years by now.
On the album she gets help from Kelly Wilson and Mark Stevenson from her band Acoustix and a number of musicians from San Angelo. A voice is an instrument, Terry Mills knows this. On her debut CD her Texan voice is the most important tool between the acoustic guitar and the lost accordion. Almost speaking for itself the beautifully sang songs have their deepest roots in the American tradition of country and folk music. Man Behind The Curtain is a collection of 11 greatly written songs, and has no pretentions which usually comes with pop music.
These greatly written songs, which are sometimes taken from the day to day life, Kate knows to attract the attention of the listener in a sensitive and vulnerable way. Her fascination in telling a real story really comes to life in Psycho Cat. A song about someone who goes through life confused. The acoustic Soar has very strong emotional connections about her daughter, who leaves the home to build up a musical career. The singalong We’re related with the line He’s married to the ex-wife of my ex-husbands ex-wife’s boyfriend seems to be based on a true story according to Kate. Man Behind The Curtain is a beautiful debut album from Terry Mills for those who love Shawn Colvin, Eliza Gilkyson, Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris.
Johan Schoenmakers - Alt Country Forum (Aug 20, 2010)
Man Behind The Curtain by Terry Mills. Mills, a singer-songwriter based in San Angelo (I just got back from there; what a co-inkydink) has several gems on this CD, especially "Psycho Cat", which will make anyone who has ever owned or been around a cat laugh out loud. "We're Related" also tickles the funny bone, but the artist also scores with more pensive fare ("The Cold, the Rain & Saturday", "Soar"). Although the last song on the CD, "Noel Y'all", feels like it belongs on a different album, this is a solid collection, and one that makes you appreciate how much unsung talent we have in the Lone Star State.
James Taylor - Rock and Roll Curmudgeon Blog (Aug 16, 2010)
The WR Music Channel show Axeplosion is now playing Terry's song "Man Behind The Curtain" 6pm - 10pm everyday the month of January. Go to www.womensradio.com .
On his DVD Live at the Beacon Theatre the great James Taylor makes reference to the “folk music scare” of his early career, when “a few of us thought that popular music would sound this way forever”. I'm pretty sure that he was poking fun at himself then, but guess what? There really is great folk music still being recorded right now, in spite of the current 'scene'. Terry Mills' Man Behind The Curtain can go ahead and take its place in the repertoire for those fans who still believe in and love this genre.
Each and every tune on the CD is highly entertaining. Sometimes they will tickle you, and at other times they're rather bittersweet. One of the most fun songs has to be “We're Related”. How can you possibly lose when you have a tuba playing the bass line and free-form kazoo solos? This music is a perfect complement to the wacky and tangled relations that Mills chose as the theme of the song.
“Noel Y'all”, on the other hand, opens a different window into the mind of the songwriter with a fascinating reworking of the Good News story. It might be a little bit of a controversial variation for some listeners, yet it's sensitive and has great relevance in our world today. If the soft sound of a traditional carol intertwined with Mills own music doesn't raise a chill on your spine then you might need to listen to this song again.
Oh, by the way…The music itself is lovely. “The Cold, the Rain & Saturday” features an atmospheric blend of guitar and piano, of major chords and minor (that don't always follow one another in the usual way), and of joy and pain. Even if there were no point to her songs, they would still be worth listening to. The thing is there is meaning in each one. Fans of modern folk will certainly enjoy finding little pieces of themselves in the music on Man Behind The Curtain.
Key Tracks- The Cold, the Rain & Saturday, We're Related, Noel Y'all
Donny Harvey- MuzikReviews.com Staff
February 19, 2011