Mark Thomann releases his debut album
TN154 Feb 23
Mark Thomann, from Weston Creek, ACT, pulled his debut album together over the last three years while in self imposed isolation and recovery from heart failure.
The ten-track album is a serious but fun look at life that leaves the listener both humming and musing on the hook lines.
The album is described as story driven country blues songs with quirky lyrics, catchy hook lines and grooves that take you to the heart of modern Australia and back again.
The title song, “Plastic Flowers” takes a different angle on love and flowers as a metaphor for the transience of relationships, with plastic flowers being the obvious solution!
But the real love song is probably “Bush Rocket”, which celebrates Mark’s travels through the heart of Australia in his beloved “battered old Troopy” and explores the divide between urban and rural life.
The country rock song “Seven Long Years” and the more folky “Where’s Summer Gone?” take a lively but personal look at the impacts of climate change.
While much of the album is positive and upbeat, a couple of tracks are more reflective such as “My Father’s Voice” and “Coming Back”.
“Those songs took time and effort to get them (and me) into shape”, Mark said.
“It was worth the effort, maybe music really can mend a broken heart!
“While I am proud of my songs, this album is also worth a listen for Stuart King’s guitar playing and the other great Canberra musicians playing on the album,” Mark added.
The album was on February 5 at the Canberra Irish Club and it was also released digitally on the same date.
The album was recorded, mixed and mastered locally by David Pendragon at Pendragon Studio in Charnwood, ACT.
For fifty years, Mark has been playing country/blues/roots songs, but his earliest musical influence was his Dad who played piano accordion and loved swing jazz bands, the romantic European classical composers and, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
Mark spent many hours listening to his Dad’s record collection until the fateful day he discovered 70s country/blues/rock, picked up a guitar and then joined a semi-professional band called Blackwood Creek as their young bass player.
That was the ‘70s in Tasmania and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then.
Throughout his management career, he continued to play and write songs across genres but found himself drawn back to the songwriting vibe of the ‘60s and ‘70s in pursuit of a good story and an unforgettable hook.
His songs are nostalgic in part for those sounds and times while pursuing the art of storytelling relevant to today’s issues and stories.
How would he describe his songs? – well, just think Nostalgia Rock meets Indie on the road to Tamworth and winds up in Memphis.
Mark first learnt the art of playing in a band in the Launceston Railway Silver Band.
It was a formative experience, especially the sombre occasions playing in Anzac Day parades and the resonant emotive sounds of the solo trombone or euphonium.
But the draw of the guitar (and rock ‘n’ roll!) was irresistible and he moved on to playing various styles of guitar which can all be heard in his songwriting.
Some of his biggest influences include Jim Croce, Bonnie Raitt, Dan Hicks, Eric Bibb, Taj Mahal, the Zac Brown Band, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
The highlight of his career to date has been the release of his first album and playing with some of Canberra’s best musicians such as Stuart King (guitar), Matt Nightingale (bass), Jonathan Jones (drums), Valdis Thomann (trombone), Dan Mclean (trumpet), Dan Bray (saxophone) and Dave O’Neill (fiddle and mandolin).
Another highlight was having his son arrange the horn parts and play trombone on the album.
Valdis remembers some of the songs from his childhood which he channels into his solos on the album, and so the story comes full circle.