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ALBUM REVIEW: "Stowaways" 

Paul Mark and the Van Dorens


Radiation Records

In the pantheon that is the 12 or so albums Paul Mark has produced over the years, the man has never strayed to far from the blue notes. He's ventured out on acoustic and assorted sonic forays, but he always comes back. Mark's new album, "Stowaways," somehow seems different. I don't know, but maybe Mark isn't coming back this time. This album is so spot-on beautiful, so cockeyed and true, I'd be happy if he stayed here for the next dozen titles.

"Stowaways" is late-night ruminations at the piano, which Mark expertly tackles with the damper pedal to the floor. He wearily sings in a wise, melancholic tone — wisdom don't come cheap after all. It's jazzy and profane and calls to mind Tom Waits in its gruffness and lost innocence. Paul Mark is a master storyteller so insightful and empathetic you'd swear he has been reading your mail.

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