Although the first single of the album Revolutions Go In Circles is Moving On, and so the first song I listen to, I will find out later that it’s also probably the least representative song of the album.
Moving On is a pretty straightforward Americana-tinged folk song about, yes, moving on. It seems to me as if Mulholland tossed this one out first deliberately in order to nail his colours to the mast: this is me, and if you’re not keen on this, then don’t bother delving deeper.
nailing his colours to the mast: this is me
Which would be a pity, since as you progress through the album, you find, song by song, ever richer palettes of instrumentation, plus such a wide range of serious musical talent from the musicians he has chosen to back him up on the album (not disregarding Mark’s own obvious talents of course); and the whole effort is couched in the relaxed confidence that comes from years of playing with all sorts of people, in all sorts of conditions, and in so many different corners of the world.
Although I appreciate all the various tracks across the album, the one that stuck out for me most is perhaps River Walk, since it’s this song that steps away from the more standard folkrock / Americana instrumentation. Mark spent quite a while in Africa (more on that later) and on this song he has called on one of his African musician friends to take this song somewhere else, with n’goni, taman and karanyan played by Yacoubi Sissoko.
Other contributors across the album include masterful harmonica touches by Matt de Harp, who has played with Mark in Two Dollar Bash (as well as backing up German rockers Boss Hoss); the legendary drummer originally from Lagos, later based in London and Paris, Tony Allen, who is generally credited with inventing Afrobeat and playing with Fela Kuti throughout the 70s; Sean Condron on banjo (among other instruments), a long-time collaborator from the US with whom Mark has played on and off since they were both based in Prague way back when; Toumani Diabate on kora (cited by London’s The Independent as one of the top fifty artists in all of Africa); as well as the album being mixed and mastered by the Grammy Award-winning David Odlum (who played guitar in the Glen Hansard-fronted band The Frames before producing music for artists as varied as dEUS, Gemma Hayes and Josh Ritter).
With the songs being recorded in studios in Africa and Europe, the extraordinary collection of musicians and top producer ensures that the final result is warm and assured, tugging gently at your sleeve until you go and put it on from the beginning again.