John Mark McMillan
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John Mark McMillan

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


A Review by the Phantom Tollbooth ( tollbooth.org)

HopeAnthologyVolumeOne Artist:
John Mark McMillian Label: Independent Length: 10/51:09
This album works for two reasons: the depth of the lyrics and the raw, almost desperate feel of the music behind them. John Mark McMillian has a versatile voice, drifting from lo-fi indie rock to blues to some elements of jazz fusion.
"7:30" is a chance encounter with an angel, or is it God? Seemingly a depiction of Jacob's wrestling match, this song describes the quest of pursuing God relentlessly:
I will chase you through the darkness Caverns in the night I will find your secret hiding place and lay down in the light I will wrestle for the blessing though you render me this wound Still I won't let go of you..
"Hey Won't You Come Around" describes how a mood can be elevated in the presence of the right person. "Ominous" portrays the danger within ourselves, the secret nature that keeps us on the verge of tragedy. Several songs here seem to have been composed in the middle of the night, perhaps while confronting the demons that keep us awake - "7:30," "Ominous," "Job 38," "I Need You in the Morning," and "Between the Cracks (3:00am)" all mention the early hours of the day.
"I Will Trust" sheds a light on Christ's sacrifice, and his time on Earth. "Job 38" is maybe the most powerful track, begging God to show Himself through the life of the singer:
I will be Your lamp, if You will pour the oil If You will light the incense I will be Your censer I will be Your tabernacle If you will be the ark I will be Your body If You will be the heart.
McMillian achingly demonstrates the weaknesses of the human condition, and tips his hat to the saving grace of God, acknowledging the need for God to do the changing in lives, to make them complete. HopeAnthologyVolumeOne would fit seamlessly with David Gray or Pete Yorn in your CD changer.
Brian A. Smith 11 May 2003

- The Phantom Tollbooth


"John Mark McMillan, of North Carolina, blends an eclectic rock vibe with a lyrical depth that stands out as one of the most original and authentic voices to come out of this generation." - Eric Hurtgen


“John Mark continues his tradition of writing songs that stare right at the grit of living. In an independent musical landscape covered by "more of the same" John Mark's southern rock tendencies and gritty song-writing are definitely a break from the ordinary. Start your collection now with John Mark's latest album ‘The Song Inside The Sounds Of Breeaking Down’.” - Ben Pasley


"His music is emotionally genuine, borne from his soul, and it sounds good--the fresh poetry, hook-based anthems, and solid rock musicianship all please the ear extensively." - Thomas Torrey


“with so much fluff passing across my desk, it was a welcome relief to hear deep, thought provoking lyrics" - Host of syndicated radio program: Spin 180


"Just the sound of John Mark McMillan's voice is enough to make me love this album, but add to it catchy songs, meaningful lyrics a definite indie rock vibe and you've got one album that shouldn't be overlooked!" - Grass Roots Music


"This album deals with what happens when you fall apart"
-John Mark McMillan

John Mark McMillan is a recording artist who wants to get real. He wants to get real about everything: his relationship with God, his pain, and God's redemption; and he wants to do it in a way that is dead-level honest. This is probably at least one of the reasons that adjectives like "genuine" and "honest" get thrown around a lot when people talk about his work. Of course, it's not McMillan's honesty that has garnered him so much at acclaim. Let's be honest: it's the music.

McMillan's melodies stay inside your head for weeks at a time, the rich fullness of John Mark's trademark voice reverberating key phrases long after the album stopped playing. And if his first album, Hope Anthology, Volume I was a little that way, his most recent album, The Song Inside the Sounds of Breaking Down is completely that way. Filled to the brim with standout songs, John Mark's sophomore release is one of those few albums that can be played in its entirety. From the fuzzed-out intro of "Londontown" to the quiet contemplative ending of "He Loves Us", The Song Inside the Sounds is a complete experience.

But don't take my word for it. Already, McMillan has been garnering praise from all kinds of places. Songwriter and Enter the Worship Circle Producer, Ben Pasley encourages music fans to, "Start your collection now with John Mark's latest album" saying that, "John Mark's southern rock tendencies and gritty songwriting are definitely a break from the ordinary." Grass Roots Music was equally as effusive: "Just the sound of John Mark McMillan's voice is enough to make me love this album, but add to it catchy songs, meaningful lyrics a definite indie rock vibe and you've got one album that shouldn't be overlooked!"

Thomas Torrey from WSLC Radio in New York said that, "John Mark McMillan achieves something rarely seen in Christian rock today. His music is emotionally genuine, borne from his soul, and it sounds good--the fresh poetry, hook-based anthems, and solid rock musicianship all please the ear extensively." And Matt Mungle host of the syndicated radio program Spin 180 intoned, “With so much fluff passing across my desk, it was a welcome relief to hear deep, thought provoking lyrics from a Christian artist.”

The Song Inside the Sounds of the Breaking Down is available now on iTunes, CD Baby, and on John Mark's website at www.thejohnmark.com. It was produced by Elijah Mosley and features James Duke on lead guitars, Al Sergel on drums, Andy Kurzweg on bass, and Joel Simmons on keys.

-Eric Hurtgen, God Section Editor, RelevantMagazine.com
- Eric Hurtgen


"A patriotic sound that incorperates bold stripped down blues with a voice reminiscent of Pete Yorn" - HM Magazine - HM Magazine


Discography

2006 Full Length Recording:
"The Song Inside the Sounds of Breaking Down"

2002 Full Length Recording:
"Hope Anthology Volume One"

Photos

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Bio

A 26 year-old songwriter from Charlotte, NC, John Mark McMillan is a growing presence in the U.S. and in the U.K. His combination of honest lyricism and raw musicality has won him fans from all parts of the globe.

Press Release:
"This album deals with what happens when you fall apart"
-John Mark McMillan

You get the sense, when listening to an album by John Mark McMillan, that there is another America out there. It's an America more real than the one you're used to: the one of endless car dealerships, sprawled out suburbia, and shoeshine religion. This is not that America. This is the America that exists, breathing and living, outside the realm of blue state and red state allegiance. This is the America built on the backs of the bruised and the broken, the America of under-produced country music, fuzzed out rock and roll and old time gospel.

Though McMillan's most recent release, The Song inside the Sounds of the Breaking Down, may open up with the deceptively Anglo-centric "London town", the sound was most definitely born in the U.S.A. From the banjos and tube crunch of "Breaking Down" to the careening, slightly drunken "Next to You Now", McMillan and company have crafted an album that sonically stretches from sea to shining sea, subtly pulling from influences as disparate as Springsteen, Whiskeytown, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Lyrically, John Mark McMillan thinks like a poet. Lines like "I've been walking in my sleep/digging trenches in the pavement with the soles of my feet" and "I dreamed I kissed your feet/between the cigarette butts on the side of fourteenth street" wind their way through the tunes like Carolina copperheads. The result is a thread that binds all of McMillan's music together: being broke down. Whether it's the death of a friend or the distance of a lover, the ghost that haunts John Mark's soul seems to brood on the back of his brokenness. And really, from the blues to Bob Dylan, what could be more American than that?

The Song Inside the Sounds of the Breaking Down is available now on iTunes, CD Baby, Tower Records, John Mark's website at www.thejohnmark.com, and othe rplaces quality recordings are sold. It was produced by Elijah Mosley and features James Duke on lead guitars, Al Sergel on drums, Andy Kurzweg on bass, and Joel Simmons on keys.