Mark Collie Album Release Show

When: Tue., May 1, 7 p.m. 2012

We remember the ’90s as a time when Garth’s arena-scale success exploded commercial expectations for country stars. By those standards, Mark Collie’s major label run was merely a footnote, producing a pair of Top 10 country hits. But his red-blooded, big-hearted new album, Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, makes a convincing argument for his gifts as a hard country singer-songwriter who gives his songs a big rockabilly kick, and who considers written-off down-and-outers — prison inmates, say — to be both worthy protagonists in his songs and worthy members of his audience. Does that description bring any late legends to mind? It should, because Cash once tapped Collie to play him onscreen. Like a lot of records that get lost in label shuffling, Alive sat on the self for a decade — even though it’s stocked with fresh material and contributions from some pretty phenomenal guests (Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Shawn Camp and Kelly Willis), and even though the dynamic performances were captured by none other than Tony Brown and David Z. Brushy Mountain’s gone, but it’s about time this document sees the light of day.

Jewly Hight


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