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The rough edge of country

By Mark Insley

Rustic Records: 2003

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This review first appeared in the May 28, 2003 issue of Fahrenheit San Diego.

Mark Insley looks and dresses like Mojo Nixon on the inner sleeve of his latest CD; but if he looks the part of a redneck clown, he writes classic country/folk songs in the vein of Tonwes Van Zandt and Guy Cark.

"The Devil's Knocking" and "My Neighborh's Dog" and "Meat, the Devil" – they're all the kind of jagged, slice-of-life songs Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson used to write; stories about truck drivers and factory workers and other regular folk.

And when he chooses a cover, he chooses very well – "Deep End of the Bar" by D. Holstein and "Heart Out in the Snow" by Alex Brumbaugh both have that "Haven't I heard this before" instant familiarity.

His voice is no great shakes, but its roughness has its charms. Clare Muldaur, daughter of folk icons Geoff and Maria, chimes in on harmony vocals.