Carolyn Mark
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Carolyn Mark

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | INDIE

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2000
Solo Country Americana


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs



"That Mark remains in fine, fine vocal form isn't a surprise..."

The selling point of the album-the selling point of any Carolyn Mark album, actually- is her remarkable voice. She's a passionate vocalist with a tone that at times recalls latter day Emmylou Harris (the way she opens up "2nd Time" recalls the Red Dirt Girl's recent output), a great sense of phrasing, and impressive range, and the ability to turn an emotion at the flip of a dime. That Mark remains in fine, fine vocal form isn't a surprise to any of those who have been listening to her or her collaboration with Neko Case over the years. - Pop Matters

"Mark and company have forged a solid path in the Canadian conscience"

Let's Just Stay Here is filled with songs of love and loss with ample references to Canada along the way, tracks like "The 2nd Time", "Officer Down", and "Canada Day Off/Toronto" which namedrop the CBC and related programming. Mark and company have forged a solid path in the Canadian conscience. - Chart Attack

"Infused with a sort of honky-tonk simplicity that isn't quite alt-rock and isn't quite country..."

There's a dusty, well-worn quality to the music found on Carolyn Mark and NA Arbuckle's Let's Just Stay Here. Infused with a sort of honky-tonk simplicity that isn't quite alt-rock and isn't quite country, the record rolls through 12 songs of truck-stop-ready music that calls to mind visions of lonely, weathered men and fading, weary women staring longingly into their cups of coffee.
There's a lot to like about this collaboration, that's for sure. Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle have joined forces to deliver a country/rock/alternative/folk record that is as crisp and chilly as Alberta weather and as warm and welcoming as the coffee at that lonely truck stop just over the snow-capped mountains. -

"...there's an undercurrent of clever fun running through their material that's refreshingly pure."

As notorious for having a ball as they are renowned for their songwriting prowess, Mark and Neville Quinlan aren't household names yet but are at the vanguard of folk and country songwriting in Canada. However incisive in their respective observational tunes, there's an undercurrent of clever fun running through their material that's refreshingly pure. Mark and Quinlan can also conjure heartbreak with quick, precise turns of phrase and, by and large, there's a forlorn tone to these songs. - Exclaim! Magazine

"With her warm twang and nonchalant sass, she has an easy way with a song..."

(Carolyn) Mark gets top billing here for a reason. With her warm twang and nonchalant sass, she has an easy way with a song, settling into opener "All Time Low" and the closing title track like she's crashing on someone's especially cozy couch. - Pitchfork

"Carolyn Mark - Nothing Is Free"

There's more to Canadian country than Neko Case (who's actually American). Carolyn Mark, who sounds eerily similar to Case and once played in a band with her, is one of the Great White North's brightest purveyors of twangy alt-country.

Her fifth record is, to put it simply, fun. You'll find yourself smiling, laughing and singing along to nearly every track here.

1 Thing is a rollicking line-dancing-approved track about love, while Pictures Of 5 is a simple acoustic number with more energy and enthusiasm than pretty much any new-country disc.

But the disc isn't just fun for her fans; it sounds like Mark is having a blast, too. Even slower songs like Point Of View are loose and casual; she sounds relaxed, as if she's sitting around a campfire with her friends. - Now Magazine - Toronto

"Live at The Railway Club"

"Mark’s witty on-stage banter carries over into her cleverly poetic songs, mixing tinges of real emotion and heartbreak with biting sarcasm and a love of good drink. Performing with both an additional guitar player and a violinist, Mark’s songs were perfectly suited to the atmosphere provided by the eager bar patrons, as fiddle-filled songs about boozy days off on tour tend to be. Performing a set mostly composed of brand-new material from her forthcoming full-length, Nothing is Free, these songs tended to showcase Mark’s less-funny musical tendencies, highlighting her more subtle abilities as a powerful emotional songwriter."
- Exclaim Magazine May 2007

"...does little to dispel the longstanding myth that booze consumption and creativity go hand-in-hand."

Carolyn Mark, the rootin’-tootin’ roots music darling of Victoria, BC, does little to dispel the longstanding myth that booze consumption and creativity go hand-in-hand. But there’s more to Mark than just the smartass who can fire off internal rhymes for "gewurtzraminer." Pros and Cons, which features lively accompaniment from the New Best Friends, also doubles as a scrapbook of Mark’s misadventures. "Chantal and Leroy," "Yanksgiving," and the stripped-down "Jody and Sue" (with backing vocals by Kelly Hogan) are charming autobiographical episodes illuminated by Mark’s seasoned voice and off-the-cuff delivery. Whether she lands on her feet, or ass-over-teakettle, Mark always sounds like she’s having fun. - No Depression

"It is time now to consider Carolyn Mark's qualifications for national-treasure status."

It is time now to consider Carolyn Mark's qualifications for national-treasure status. Mark pens some of the funniest ('cause they're true) tunes about boozing you'll ever hear, and some of the most poignant tearjerkers as well. In the latter category, the lonely, dusky "Not a Doll" is so bittersweet it should come with a warning for the manic-depressive. - Georgia Straight (Vancouver, BC)

"...Mark is a country girl with a wild streak"

Like her close ally Neko Case (with whom she once traded as The Corn Sisters), Mark is a country girl with a wild streak. Nimbly assisted by members of Canadian folkies Po’ Girl, the settings for these songs are standard acoustic guitars, mandolin and strings, but she fills them with enough devilry and sly humour to draw you in to her bittersweet world completely. In a wondrous voice that’s half Kentucky hick, half Rocky Mountain draught, Mark sings of blonde nymphs in lace panties, tedious wives, racy mistresses and knives driven chestward. 4 Stars - Uncut

"...strikes an even more impressive balance between wit and heartfelt observation"

Mark strikes an even more impressive balance between wit and heartfelt observation on her fifth album, Nothing Is Free. She still gets a kick out of life's cruel ironies, but her droll insights are subtler and darker - a perfect complement to her most bittersweet songs yet, included the subdued waltz "The 1 That Got Away (with It)" and the noirish "Happy 2B Flying Away." It's certainly a new direction for Mark (fans who prefer her more direct humor should check out the uproarious tour diaries at, and one that suggests her inability to achieve Case's level of success may actually be helping propel her songs closer to greatness. As she sings on "Pirate and Shotgun": Sometimes where you are is where you've been trying to go."
4 Stars
- Time Out New York

"...her high-lonesome voice is as devastating as it is warm and welcoming."

Like Case, she's a literate but accessible songwriter, and her high-lonesome voice is as devastating as it is warm and welcoming. "The 1 That Got Away (With It)", from Mark's just released Nothing is Free, is part of a whole tradition of women's bittersweet tales of giving up intimacy for sexual freedom, from Janis Joplin singing "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose," in the Kris Kristofferson-penned "Me & Bobby McGee" to Liz Phair's "Fuck And Run". With a spare background of acoustic guitar, violin, and mandolin, Mark sees a choice between the "one that got away" and "the one that's in the way." Mark comes up with another choice, the mischievous one who "just got away with it." She wonders, "If I keep you in the dark, where you'll always have to guess/ If I'm giving you my heart or just taking off my dress/ Maybe I'll be the one that got away with it." She's no weeping willow, though. Mark comes off as the kind of girl you'd have a good cry with before she set out on further adventures. - Pitchfork

"Go for the music, stay for the dirty jokes."

Mark's music is so authentic in its back porch vibe, it seems to come with its own direct link to Loretta Lynn's '60s heyday—like her heroes, Mark is not afraid to rail against a man too drunk to understand his own fuck-ups. Not to say Mark is some kind of saint: Her gigs are known for their off-balance candor and ribald humor as much as the homespun tunes. Go for the music, stay for the dirty jokes.
- Metromix (New York)

"...may be the best tear-in-your-beer bash of the year."

Carolyn Mark… has hit her stride. On her superb second album, Terrible Hostess, the underappreciated Canadian vocalist has perfected her knack for writing old, Patsy-style country songs that poignantly and humorously capture the travails of dead-end lives – her own included. Witty, wry, and with more personality than anyone in alt-country, Mark claims she's a terrible hostess, but her second album may be the best tear-in-your-beer bash of the year. - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"...4 Stars"

Mark, the other sister to Neko Case in the corn Sisters is a notable act in her own right, bright and sharp on the up-tempo numbers, and when it comes to the slow heart-tugging ballads she draws favourable comparisons to tExas singer-songwriter Sarah Elizabeth Campbell. 4 Stars - Maverick


Title tba (2012)
The Sound of the Tone (2009)
Let's Just Stay Here (2009 - nominated for a Juno award)
Nothing Is Free (2007)
Just Married: An Album of Duets (2005)
The Pros and Cons of Collaboration (2004)
Terrible Hostess (2002)
Party Girl (2000)

Carolyn curated "A Tribute to the Soundtrack to Robert Altman's Nashville" compilation (Kelly Hogan, Dallas Good, Carl Newman, Dave Gowans, Neko Case, Dave Lang and others)

Carolyn performed with Neko Case as the Corn Sisters and released "The Other Women" (2000)

Carolyn has also sung backup on several albums including ones by Jon Rauhouse, Show Business Giants, the Buttless Chaps, John Guliak, and Neko Case.



Some things are just meant to be. Birds are born to fly, politicians were born to lie, big fat guys with giant beards were born to ride their machines without getting hassled by the man, and Carolyn Mark was born to make music.

Ever since first taking to the stage as Templeton the rat in her elementary school's musical version of Charlotte'sWeb, show business has been the main driving force in Carolyn's life. After coming to the obvious conclusion that musicians were much more fun to hang around with than actors, in the early 90's Carolyn formed her first band... all-girl surfy twang popsters, The Vinaigrettes. This was the beginning of a love affair with music, musicians and the road that, even after 15+ years of crazy hard work, still puts the nitro in her funny car.

After the Vinaigrettes, Carolyn did brief stints in such bands as The Metronome Cowboys and The Fixin's before, in 2000, making her Mint Record debut with her first solo album, Party Girl. Since then, and with the help of a revolving cast of Can-Country super stars including, but not limited to, Tolan McNeil, Garth Johnson,Ford Pier, Nathan Tinkham, Corb Lund, NQ Arbuckle, Luke Doucet, Amy Honey, Greg MacDonald, Neko Case and Carey Mercer, she has released four more highly acclaimed albums. As well, she has also travelled thousands of miles entertaining crowds of 4 to 4000... touring Canada,the United States, the UK, Norway and Italy.

She has shared the stage with such talented musicians as Jenny Whitely, Hank & Lily, Luther Wright, Sarah Harmer, Kelly Hogan, Lederhosen Lucil, Geoff Berner, Joel Plaskett, The Handsome Family, Neil Hamburger, JT and The Clouds, The Shiftless Rounders, NQ Arbuckle, Wanda Jackson,The Waco Brothers, The Sadies and Blue Rodeo.

On October 13th 2009, Carolyn released a Juno-nominated album (Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group) with N.Q. Arbuckle titled "Let's Just Stay Here" on Mint Records. Lets Just Stay Here was not the first time that Carolyn and NQ Arbuckle have recorded together. Back in 2005 they recorded the track, Fireworks, for another of Carolyn's collective recording projects, Just Married: An Album of Duets.

Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle are cooperators, consensus builders, confederates and... collaborators. They both know that, if you choose to walk the path of the itinerant musician there's a helluva lotta road and precious few kindred souls. Which makes finding someone you can make music with that much more exciting... even if you have to trek all the way from Victoria, B.C. (home base of Carolyn) to Toronto (home base of NQ Arbuckle) to do it.

Joining the team for this outing were some of NQ Arbuckle's favourite co-conspirators (aka his band) including The Kesper Twins, Peter (guitars) and Mark (drums) as well as John Dinsmore (bass, wine glasses, charm)... plus, they got some special guest action from Corb Lund (mandolin), Lily Fawn (musical saw), Jenny Whitely (harmonies) and Miranda Mullholand (violin). All Together... about as good a team as you could hope to find.

Of the 12 songs on the album, 6 are originals by Carolyn Mark, 3 are originals by NQ Arbuckle and remaining 3 are hand picked cover songs chosen for the important places they occupy in each musician's personal cosmology... or maybe just because they like them.

Fortunately for the listener, Carolyn possesses a willingness to throw caution under the truck, and have all the fun humanly possible. While some people are content to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, Carolyn Mark would be pleasantly surprised to find an open bar, and would treat us all to one last rollicking sing-a-long before the icy waters closed over our heads.