Mark Joseph celebrated his latest album, Vegas Hotel, on October 15 but he will be playing again on November 24 at the Cabooze – so it’s not too late. Vegas Motel feels like a peek into so many homes across the Midwest – intimate and warm despite the cold world around us.
Last time we met Mark was December 2018, at the WMCN studios to talk about one of his many projects, the Big Wu. A lot has happened since then and it was fun to catch up. His new album is a series of stories of real people in Mark’s life of in the lives of people around him. He does justice to the protagonists by finding a piece of himself in each story. A few of the songs (Nate’s Garage, Hard Working Man and Life of the Pipe Welder) are testaments to the everyman doing every jobs, every day. They are touching vignettes that lift of the people and the professions and the heart and souls of people who work hard for their family. The stories will bring a tear to your eye, the music will bring a tap to your toe.
There is a softer side to the music as well. I Love You ‘Til I Die, Little Lucy and Stella Blue are songs born of love. Not all of the songs are as first person as you might think; it doesn’t matter, Mark captures the inner-monologue, the ethos, pain and joy of the subject of his songs. (You can listen to the interview to find out if you figure out which stories are first person!) Even Early Riser, which is a beautiful instrumental piece, tells a story when you listen – and know the backstory or hero of the tale.
Mark has a gift of putting himself into the shoes of another and shining a light on their song as if it comes from within. I hope he writes more albums like this.