"Touring artist that has a buzz as one of the most mesmerizing acoustic performances in Canada right now. Dynamic lyrics delivered in the old fashioned straight ahead performance style that made me stand up and take notice. This guy is great!"
- Jim Fleming, Fleming & Associates Ani DiFranco, Kelly Joe Phelps and Tom Paxton
Like some kind of caffeinated single malt whiskey, Mark Reeves' acoustic roots-rock goes down smooth and easy, but packs a powerful kick that can't help but move you. From the infectious, jangly roots-pop anthem The Way to the playful lascivious title track, Mark's album, Sure is a Pretty Name (2003) is a top-down, full throttle romp through twelve songs of hope, heartache, and gutsy good humour. His third solo record, this clearly his most mature, and none have come close to capturing the frenetic, vivacious rapture of a live Mark Reeves performance the way his new studio album does.
A fresh breath of air, Mark is a classic example of one of those rare, blazingly talented independent artists who leaves unsuspecting audiences slack-jawed and eager for more. Pierre Guerin, former artistic director of the famed Winnipeg Folk Festival and past president of the North American Folk Alliance, agrees, "Mark is not only at ease performing, he owns the stage, even more impressive is the attention and care he pays to his craft as a songwriter".
Mark is one of those artists who's been around, building steam, making records and touring in support of some of the world's best-known roots artists. The past two decades have seen Mark stream through a journey from busker to seasoned performer with masterful chops and the kind of mesmerizing stage presence that most artists never achieve in a lifetime. Turning heads because of youthful talent, he won a scholarship to Boston's Berklee College of Music at 19, paid his dues in the blues clubs, made a record with Los Lobos producer Keith Keller's at Keller's mansion in New Orleans, won a sackful of awards, and warmed up stages for everyone from Robert Cray and Blue Rodeo to Colin James and Jesse Winchester.
The phrase "all hits, no misses" may be trite and outworn, but there is no question that Sure is a Pretty Name is Reeves' most brilliant effort to date, one of those all-too-frequent musical gems that just hums along front to back and leaves you reaching for the replay button. You slip this music on like a worn, favourite leather jacket and take a laid-back cruise down a back-dirt road through a rootsy Americana populated with ordinary characters looking for life in all the real places. It's been said that if Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett had a love child, Mark Reeves would be it. Fans of Lovett and Martin Sexton will eat up Reeves' hard-earned positive vibe, rock solid rhythmic groove and kick-ass Motown horn section which adds a pleasant double-espresso kick to the mix. Anybody who loves R&B will immediately be inspired by Mark's infectious, dance-all-night grove thang, but there are profoundly beautiful moments here, and unpretentious lyrical wisdom that makes you sit back while you catch your breath.
"I wrote most of these tunes over a three week period in a backwoods cabin in Canada with no electricity and no road access," says Reeves. "I wanted to create something a bit more laid back than before, something that would leave people with a real good feeling".