Mark Zane did NOT disappoint us at Sparkytown's last night! He made good on his promise to play his new song, "Maybe" and many songs off his new CD "American Hunger". His keen observations of the state of the world are reflected in his lyrics. He makes you laugh, shake your head, tear up, but -- most importantly -- he demands your attention and you can't stop thinking about his songs long after he's put his guitar down. As a poet, I'm always in awe of songwriters who can pull off the tough rhymes.....as he does in his song "Ruby" where he manages an end rhyme for "erection" that works.
There's always a highlight or two in a live performance and one of them for me came when Mark announced he'd do a cover of the Leonard Cohen anthem "Hallelujah". (It's on the playlist I shared a few posts ago...one of my absolute favorites from the father of song.) I was initially excited, then wondered if I could stand to hear another performer butcher what I consider to be one of the finest songs -- both lyrics and melody. I had once been excited to hear Willie Nelson's version and then cringed, although I have grown to like it a little more.
But Mark nailed it - and it wasn't just because some others from the audience sang a soft harmony. His voice is powerful and his guitar playing strong; his bass player was excellent. Mark's performance of "Hallelujah" was bone chilling and delicious, creating the magic a musician weave only when he understands a song completely.
Even though I've been listening to Mark's CD as I do dishes or cook dinner, after hearing him perform these songs, they take on new meaning. It's difficult to pick a favorite. I thought it was "Bethlehem" but this morning it might be "Man Under the Bridge". Then again it may be the other song that touched me last night, Mark's song about a fallen soldier in Iraq, "Going Home". This is the song that has stayed with me, keeping me company this morning.
We had a great time. Sparky, thanks for opening up your restaurant to music for the 'hood. Mark, thanks for sharing your music with us.