Carolyn Mark

By - Sep 1st, 2007 02:52 pm

Victoria, B.C.’s most acclaimed Party Girl, Terrible Hostess and less lime-lighted half of the Corn Sisters, Carolyn Mark has removed the training wheels of collaboration (her last release was strictly duets) and is again riding solo. Nothing Is Free, whose liner notes devote the disc to “all the Cowboys, Vampires, Pirates, Poets, Scarecrows and Enablers,” is a reflection of the Can-country minx’s adorably kooky “Point o’ View.” In Mark’s universe, hopes are kept “where we can see ‘em,” those without investments can justify spending “thousands of dollars/keeping Friday alive” and aver that “it’s easier to love an idea/than it is a man.”

Equally endearing are Mark’s auctioneer vocals on “1 Thing” and “Get Along,” tracks that could easily be caroused to under a state fair beer tent. Not to be pigeonholed to a do-se-do, Mark’s sound flutters from sunny surf rock (“Happy 2B Flying Away” ) to spacey daydream (“Destination: You” ) , pollinated by her husky Natalie Merchant purr and lyrics that pack a Loretta Lynn punch. “Poisoned With Hope” is uncharacteristically bulky and grating, but pardonable given Mark’s unmatched whimsy and otherwise fluid execution.

Folksy, nobody’s-fool showstopper “The 1 That Got Away (With It ) ” will most likely earn the attention of femme rags like Venus and Bust, but until she flags down a more mainstream demographic, Mark will continue her notoriety as “the other Corn Sister.” If her liner tribute to the freaks and underdogs is any indication, though, she won’t be shooting off flares any time soon.

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