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Mark Insley

Tucson – 2001 (Rustic)

Reviewed by Clarissa Sansone

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CDs by Mark Insley

Little brother Dave's label released this follow-up to 1996's hard country "Good Country Junk." Departing from that sonically with much more of a rock-oriented style, Mark Insley's latest, a 10-song collection, evoking the dry, sandy wind of the town for which it's named, boasts a host of well-known musicians like Dave Alvin, Albert Lee, Tony Gilkyson (formerly of X), and Greg Leisz (who's worked with Beck and kd lang).

Insley penned six of the tunes, Dave Holster three. The remaining is a pleasing cover of Wayne Carson's "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," in which Clare Muldaur's feathery vocals soar and dip around Insley's pure-country twang. Holster's contributions prove the most lyrically interesting: "Guilty" is a Leonard Cohen-like meditation rendered with dark guitar buzz in the background. "The Ice Machine" is a rhythmically driven saga of desperation. Insley's own writing's not too shabby, either. "Middle of Nowhere" aptly begins "Last chance gas - I must've missed it/Seems I can't do anything right"; the song then continues for five minutes - longer than standard fare - which fits the singer's revelation, while walking for gas, that he has nothing but time.

This album's worth the time, too, for anyone seeking straightforward songs of heartbroken regret and desert musings, delievered with a country-tinged rock-and-grit style. (Rustic, P.O. Box 15225, Phoenix, AZ 85060)