Monday, July 2, 2018


A relatively new recruit to the East Coast, Mark Fossen has spent a decade busking and gigging the country and beyond, playing festivals and releasing single tracks and videos. Now the B.C. native has landed in Antigonish, N.S., and has celebrated with his first full-length, called Restless. Produced by Jim Bryson, who's been quietly doing novel things for Canadian folk acts, this set has Fossen's emotional and searching tunes given a whole bunch of cool levels and shifting soundscapes. Like he's done on P.E.I. singer Meaghan Blanchard's upcoming release The Great Escape, Bryson has emphasized the mood in each of Fossen's cuts. It's not with unnecessary noises but rather with moments of quiet and calm, beautiful tones, mystery, and just the right bit of volume at the right time.

That leaves lots of room for Fossen's warm delivery and searching lyrics. Rocky Mountain Kiss looks back at an old West Coast love, thinking about it at a vulnerable time, and realizing it wasn't aching for the person, but missing that feeling of being in love. The cut Sometimes gets into intense territory, Fossen clearly one able to tap into his feelings, such as when he has to " for you in bottles of wine/when my heart is beating overtime." Songs with such heart on display could be mushy, but Fossen and Bryson add lots of power throughout, from gutsy guitar to some sneaky banjo to subtle strings. Or in Ghost, Fossen adds a falsetto harmony to a couple of lines, sounding a bit like Robbie Robertson in Somewhere Down The Crazy River. That's a good vibe, and this album has lots of that kind of warmth.

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