Mark Gothard – Poppy Fields & Pearls (CD)

“Poppy Fields & Pearls” is the second disc released by Los Angeles’ own Mark Gothard. For being in one of the largest urban cities in the United State, the fact that “Poppy Fields & Pearls” starts out with a folksy track in “The Skywalker Blues” is interesting. The unique style of Gothard’s vocals provides a little bit of richness to the traditional and typical acoustic guitar that is present. Despite the goofy nature of “The Skywalker Blues” (Star Wars), the fact is that “The Skywalker Blues” is a catchy and compelling song that will stick with listeners for a while after they put down “Poppy Fields & Pearls”.

“The Skywalker Blues’ is followed up by “Ode To Jack”, a slower track that touches upon R.E.M. just as much as it does Johnny Cash and the a post-Ziggy Stardust David Bowie. “Whispered In Your Ear” is a bold step forward for Gothard in that it is the longest track on “Poppy Fields & Pearls”, at a place where ey could gain or lose a tremendous amount of listeners. However, the compelling emotional intensity of the track allows listeners to easily make it through this five and a half minute mini-epic unscathed. In fact, the soft tones of the acoustic during this track may be the reason why listeners are able to make it to the disc’s two bonus tracks, “Blaze” and “300 Miles”. Instead of merely front-loading “Poppy Fields & Pearls” with the strongest tracks, the quality of songs on the latter half of the disc is equivalent to the first half.

This means that a song like “Something To Me” showcases the same type of honesty that first was heard during the opening strains of the disc. The music on “Poppy Fields & Pearls” is simple: there is little more here than an acoustic and a set of vocals. However, where the disc is complex is in Gothard’s ability to arrange the different compositions into things that are decidedly more than their constituent parts. While Gothard has been playing around the Los Angeles area the last few years, it should only be a matter of time before ey is coming up with a nationwide tour. Make sure to pick up a copy of “Poppy Fields & Pearls” to see the magic, the allure of Gothard, and familiarize yourself with these tracks before any tour comes to your town.

Top Tracks: Sleep, Yard Sale

Rating: 8.0/10

Mark Gothard – Poppy Fields & Pearls / 2005 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.markgothard.com /

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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