I first heard Mark Lanegan‘s voice as the singer for Seattle legends The Screaming Trees. I always thought he was a singer that was so unique in his voice. It was like a cross between Jim Morrison and Tom Waits. Sounding as gritty as a gravel road yet as smooth as a shot of whiskey, Mark Lanegan’s voice while great didn’t make much of an impact on me until years later.
Sometime around 2007, I stumbled upon Mark Lanegan’s album “I’ll Take Care Of You”, a collection of contemporary and classic yet not well known folk tunes. Upon hearing the opening track “Carry Home”, I was just melted like butter. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The song “Creeping Coastline Of Lights” and the title track “I’ll Take Care Of You” picked me up and just set me down and really made me slow down to take in every word and every note he was singing. This voice singing American music better than just about any singer out there and the songs were so outstandingly great that I just had to dig deeper into this catalog.
I’ll Take Care Of You
[youtube = “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA0c_12iYLQ”]
Next I picked up 1994’s “Whiskey For The Holy Ghost” and this time it was a full set of originals from Lanegan and I was even more floored by this collection than the other one. The song “El Sol” alone just made all the hairs on my neck stand up. Very few acts have this kind of effect on me but this material does just that. “Scraps At Midnight” continues the trend of that dark and brooding sound that I’ve just fallen in love with.
To try and break it down song for song is absolutely impossible. The songs are slow and brooding yet uplifting at times. Hauntingly beautiful arrangements and lyrics that contain so much imagery that if you close your eyes you can literally become part of the song yourself. I find myself so inspired by this material and as a musician even find it in myself to embrace that dark and brooding area that not many care to go. After hearing Lannegan go into these darker realms but pull it off so well just inspires me and puts me in that place.