By Walter Price
Bristol weathered voiced song man Howlin’ Lord (Mark Legassick) brings late night country Bob Dylan into the light in a remarkably fervent and soulful EP Breakfast of Champions.
Completely stripped down, candor on a string tracks traveling far from HL’s full length Gold Fury (2011). You first get the sense that these tracks come from late night whiskey train and a 4-track. Perhaps so and it is refreshing if not a little haunting in the corners. Departure from quality production screams sincerity.
This collection is raw folk, this collection is pure.
Gone are the players from the last album, they are replaced by late night echoes from Legassick’s thought processes. Simple home productions that gather substantial weight as you travel with the breaking high and crackling low notes reminiscent of legendary and gallant country and folk luminaries.
“I’ll be your coat when you’re walking in the rain” is positive sweetness from the last tracks ‘Fight My Corner, Have My Back” and for whatever reasons, the track I dig the most. Hopeful, got each other’s back seems to glue it all together for this listener.
Here is what this troubadour Mark told me about the reasoning behind Breakfast of Champions, “In a couple of weeks I start work on a new album with my band, we’re calling it ‘Hombre Solaire’… I made Breakfast of Champions as a bridge between the last album and this next one. It contains songs from both records alongside songs that will exist only here. All distilled to guitar and vocal arrangements. I guess it was my way of wiping the slate clean and putting our past record to rest before taking the band into the studio again. I prefer to record at night. There are less distractions and every little sound counts. In the daytime a creaking floorboard can pass you right by, in the still of the night it gets your full attention. That’s why I record where possible under cover of darkness.”