Mark Mulholland
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Mark Mulholland

Bamako, Mali | INDIE

Bamako, Mali | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Both Mulholland and Craig have long and varied careers which encompass playing with and in variety of musical projects. They got together over a mutual love for the music of Pentangle and Nick Drake and others of the English folk club scene.
The duo are joined here by double bassist Hannes d'Hoine to create a tapestry of guitars underscored by the sonorous, dexterous bass. They mix skilled instrumentals with subtle and gently-voiced songs written largely by Mulholland with a couple of contributions from Ward. This is the sort of music ideally suited to a live listening room or to a quiet sitting
room, where its ambience can fill the room and even allow reading or another quiet pastime whilst absorbing the playing skills of the participants.
The music made by the duo is subtle, and as such, is not going to make too many waves in the music world. Rather, it exists in its own space, one that will be of interest to those who appreciate music on a different level to that which requires hype or decibels to make its point. Whilst awaiting the storm you can enjoy that which comes before in the company of some fine players and their collective music.
- Lonesome Highway, August 13 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Both Mulholland and Craig have long and varied careers which encompass playing with and in variety of musical projects. They got together over a mutual love for the music of Pentangle and Nick Drake and others of the English folk club scene.
The duo are joined here by double bassist Hannes d'Hoine to create a tapestry of guitars underscored by the sonorous, dexterous bass. They mix skilled instrumentals with subtle and gently-voiced songs written largely by Mulholland with a couple of contributions from Ward. This is the sort of music ideally suited to a live listening room or to a quiet sitting
room, where its ambience can fill the room and even allow reading or another quiet pastime whilst absorbing the playing skills of the participants.
The music made by the duo is subtle, and as such, is not going to make too many waves in the music world. Rather, it exists in its own space, one that will be of interest to those who appreciate music on a different level to that which requires hype or decibels to make its point. Whilst awaiting the storm you can enjoy that which comes before in the company of some fine players and their collective music.
- Lonesome Highway, August 13 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

On topic duo
Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward have a number of bands and many years of making music between them, and can trace their friendship back over twenty years. Both have a great affection for the late sixties folk sound of groups like Pentangle, and are admirers of that great wave of British folk guitarists - Graham, Renbourn, Jansch et al - and it this mutual interest that "Waiting for the Storm" celebrates.?
With the addition of Hannes d'Hoine on double base they make a more than credible bid to fit right into that folk-jazz milieu: you could easily be fooled into thinking this was some long lost minor release from the heyday of Transatlantic or Island?The playing is uniformly good, and on several songs there are licks which mirror or reference well known songs by Pentangle or Davey Graham - on "All the Doors are Open" they even echo Crosby's "Guinevere". The playing style is very much a blend of the aforementioned guitarists, so it moves elegantly and is easy on the ear - particularly good are the two instrumentals "The Black Sail" and "The Six o'clock Whistle". There is some tentativeness round the vocals on some of the songs and though they aren't anything stunning there's nothing wrong with them, as is revealed when they bite the bullet and let their singing voices shine a little more such as on "Secret Places". It is the guitar playing that will linger in the mind though.?It's curious though - this slightly jazzy sound once would have been the cutting edge of folk, and now it appears as a solid set of mature songs. Is that such a bad thing for a mature set of musicians to produce - Americana UK, 4 September 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Walt Whitman once wrote 'There was never any more inception than there is now'. Waiting for the storm is a collaboration of two artists, each bringing together their deepest values and purist confessions.
Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward have known each other since adolescent and since beginning personal careers in the music industry, have crosses paths at various points within the past few decades. Personally, this in itself is poetic and the basis for a long lasting friendship and potential partnership.
There is something beautiful about hearing a musician fret slide across the neck of a guitar. Second to appear on the delightful album; 'All the doors are open', offers beauty at its purist with peaceful riffs and the sense of complete contentment.
The introduction of 'Secret Places' has nothing more than a soothing and beautiful guitar instrumental piece while lyricism is taken back to basics with rhyming couplets, Mulholland takes lead with his rough and vigorous vocals.
Mulholland and Ward have put everything they have into this beautiful compilation, proving that albums like this should be given the recognition they deserve; it is very common for artists like this to slip between the cracks.
This fine album was mastered in city of Berlin, perfectly crafted, though still has the air of a old recording, as though recorded on a reel to reel, few songs have such depth that background influences are placed accordingly, whether a mistake or not; it makes the album astounding. Louise Draper
- Fatea, September 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Friends since their youth when both were playing in bands in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow during the tail end of the 1980's Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward musical journeys have seen them brought together at various points including working together on Mulholland’s band Two Dollar Bash third album Lost River which Ward produced, Ward then toured with band in North America in 2007, during this time they planted the seeds of a an idea to record an album together, drawing inspiration from their shared love of influential British folks icons Pentangle and Nick Drake. Over a series of recording sessions in Berlin, Antwerp and Rotterdam Waiting for the Storm took shape, featuring ten orignal tracks, including a pair of instrumentals the album has been released by Berlin label Cannery Row Records and London-based Jezus Factory Records, Mulholland is currently residing in Haiti where is working on a number of projects that include a collaboration with Frankétienne a renowned poet, dramatist, painter and actor, who makes a guest appearance on the album on a spoken word piece.

Ward & Mullholland are playing a series of dates in the UK from the end-of-the-month and will be joined by Hannes d’Hoine who plays double bass on the album.
Friday August 31st, Live at Troon Festival, Troon, Scotland?Sunday September 2nd, Market Bar, Inverness, Scotland?Monday September 3rd, house concert, Dingwall, Scotland?Tuesday September 4th, house concert, Strathpeffer, Scotland?Wednesday September 5th, house concert, Strathcarron, Scotland?Sunday September 9th, The Green Note, Camden, London, England. Simon
- Beat Surrender, August 15 2012 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Friends since their youth when both were playing in bands in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow during the tail end of the 1980's Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward musical journeys have seen them brought together at various points including working together on Mulholland’s band Two Dollar Bash third album Lost River which Ward produced, Ward then toured with band in North America in 2007, during this time they planted the seeds of a an idea to record an album together, drawing inspiration from their shared love of influential British folks icons Pentangle and Nick Drake. Over a series of recording sessions in Berlin, Antwerp and Rotterdam Waiting for the Storm took shape, featuring ten orignal tracks, including a pair of instrumentals the album has been released by Berlin label Cannery Row Records and London-based Jezus Factory Records, Mulholland is currently residing in Haiti where is working on a number of projects that include a collaboration with Frankétienne a renowned poet, dramatist, painter and actor, who makes a guest appearance on the album on a spoken word piece.

Ward & Mullholland are playing a series of dates in the UK from the end-of-the-month and will be joined by Hannes d’Hoine who plays double bass on the album.
Friday August 31st, Live at Troon Festival, Troon, Scotland?Sunday September 2nd, Market Bar, Inverness, Scotland?Monday September 3rd, house concert, Dingwall, Scotland?Tuesday September 4th, house concert, Strathpeffer, Scotland?Wednesday September 5th, house concert, Strathcarron, Scotland?Sunday September 9th, The Green Note, Camden, London, England. Simon
- Beat Surrender, August 15 2012 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward - Waiting for the storm
There seems to be a bit of a folk revival on at the minute. That British kind of folk that was massively popular in the late 60’s and early 70’s, Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention et all. Fleet Foxes and Midlake seem to have taken up the mantle and Mulholland and Ward seem to have followed suit.
Album opener, ‘Something on the breeze’, well written and nicely played, sets the tone for the rest of the album. Sparse, dreamlike, intricate musical arrangements, played with skill and lots of feel, so much so that the vocals sound layered to support the music, rather than the other way round. This isn’t particularly a criticism, just different. ‘All the doors are open’ follows suit and then the haunting instrumental ‘Black sail’. Most of the album has duel vocals, quite a difficult thing to achieve when the two voices are both male, and of a similar texture. But the two manage to pull it off quite well. The excellent ‘Secret place’, ‘Icy shivers’ and the unusual ‘Les belles promesses’, complete with French dialogue, and then, title track, ‘Waiting for the storm’. It’s not until track 9, ‘A strange place’, that we hear a solo voice, and although not the strongest, it is distinctive and so draws the listener in. Final track, ‘The six o’clock whistle’ a gorgeous, uplifting instrumental piece that dances, joyously out of the speakers, as if freed from the toils of a hard days graft. It may have been a conscious decision to put the two, more unusual tracks, at the end of the album but I can’t help feeling they could have been used to better effect elsewhere, to show more of the diversity that this duo possess. All in all, a good album that grows with each listen, and for those who like their folk dark and tense, this one is for you. Review by Les Glover
- Mudkiss, September 2012


"REVIEW – Mark Mulholland & Craig Ward: ‘Waiting For The Storm’ album, 2012 (“tin roofs, heat and restlessness”"

Two guitars, two hushed voices, a looming double bass and a room that moves. That’s all that’s needed.

Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward go way back. In the 1980s, both were ungrizzled Scottish freshmen; teenaged guitarists coming up through roots music gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Their paths have intersected many a time since then, while both clocked up the years and the experience – Mark with a brace of projects including the Berlin Americana band Two Dollar Bash, Craig most famously with dEUS (and spinoffs like The Love Substitutes), While this fuller collaboration was mooted in 2007, it wasn’t recorded until 2010 and 2011, and then went unreleased for a further year. In the meantime the intent hasn’t gone stale. If anything, it’s aged like a good whisky. This album might have been a while in coming, but it’s happily unstuck from the demands of time – just like any long friendship of the kind where a phone call and a kept date in a bar wipes away the years of separation.

Mark and Craig are upfront about their intentions. They’re reviving that strand of British “folk baroque” as played solo in the ’60s by Davy Graham and Bert Jansch, developed by John Renbourn and Danny Thompson in Pentangle, and performed in a shroud of mystique and withdrawal by Nick Drake. ‘Waiting For The Storm’ utterly recaptures that Witchseason glimmer – timeless, intimate and immediate, with the air listening in and the feeling that the songs are at the forefront of a push of story and message.

As guitarists and as singers, Craig and Mark are perfectly matched. Acoustic fingerpicking styles knit together in a generous skein of give-and-take, with each man providing varied electric textures as and where needed. Their quiet, rough-finished voices blur and separate in sighed harmonies, tinged with weariness, a little foreboding and some scarred-knuckle gentleness. Between them, Hannes d’Hoine plays double bass as if it were a straining mast, conjuring up deep thrums, solid gutsy plucking and ghostly bowed atmospherics. It’s very much a three-cornered exchange – almost telepathic in the players’ instinct to play just what is needed and no more.

As for the roots of the record, they drift – and no wonder. Though Mark and Craig are Scottish by origin, they’re wanderers by nature. The stoic discomfort blues of A Strange Place traces lightly over the angst of this lifestyle; the menacing weightlessness of its temporary, torn-up settlings. “Anyone entering this place they might say, / a strange place in which we belong…/ It’s a strange place we do run to, / a strange place to which we do run.” The slithering folk riffs and Simon & Garfunkel harmonies of Something On The Breeze raise up something more of home, via a Lowlands song of roaming and departure. (“Blowing through the open door that I have just walked through, / blowing me along to something new… / Looking forward to looking back on the things I’ve left behind, / somewhere a little further down the line.”)

Under even the dreamier-sounding songs, there’s a Scottish feel of hard lines: an undercurrent of poverty and menace dealt with stoically (“I see the cops on every corner, / people waiting ready to run. / Blue lights flashing out a warning – / someone’ll get hurt before the morning comes.”) Yet most of the underpinnings of the record come from one particular location: Mark’s current home of Port-au-Prince, in Haiti. Throughout ‘Waiting For The Storm’, Haiti breathes itself steamily into the mood and the music – mountains and stagnant creeks; tin roofs, heat and restlessness. There’s an occult foreboding here too, perhaps brought in by the business of living under the threat of capricious flooding, of drumming rain, or of violent passions swelling out of control. The answers flicker through the songs, half-seen, or viewed full in the face for an uneasy moment.??Some of it’s more relaxed; simply sketches and shadings of place and time. The winding sea currents of All The Doors Are Open (with Hannes’ grasping bass anchoring the surges of meter) invoke summer-struck stupor and an urge for motion. “All the doors are open, cars go past outside. / Won’t you take me with you, take me for a ride?… / I gulp down the icy water, drowning in the heat. / Hills lean over the hazy sea, wheels turning to the beat.” The instrumental Black Sail travels in a wave-roll and a dark minor key, telling a wordless story: moods shift weather-wise like bands of sunset and lowering clouds, the accelerations and slowings of the guitars tracked point-by-point by Hanne’s bowed bass.

With the title track, however, more threatening moods gather. “See the vinyl spinning its strange pattern in my head / and I can’t help thinking about something somebody said…” Like a brooding canvas, Waiting For The Storm uses the old expressionist motif of threatening weather to illustrate roils in the spirit, but leaves us hanging and expectant. “The sky is getting darker and the glass begins to fall. / The f - Misfit City, 9 October 2012


"REVIEW – Mark Mulholland & Craig Ward: ‘Waiting For The Storm’ album, 2012 (“tin roofs, heat and restlessness”"

Two guitars, two hushed voices, a looming double bass and a room that moves. That’s all that’s needed.

Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward go way back. In the 1980s, both were ungrizzled Scottish freshmen; teenaged guitarists coming up through roots music gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Their paths have intersected many a time since then, while both clocked up the years and the experience – Mark with a brace of projects including the Berlin Americana band Two Dollar Bash, Craig most famously with dEUS (and spinoffs like The Love Substitutes), While this fuller collaboration was mooted in 2007, it wasn’t recorded until 2010 and 2011, and then went unreleased for a further year. In the meantime the intent hasn’t gone stale. If anything, it’s aged like a good whisky. This album might have been a while in coming, but it’s happily unstuck from the demands of time – just like any long friendship of the kind where a phone call and a kept date in a bar wipes away the years of separation.

Mark and Craig are upfront about their intentions. They’re reviving that strand of British “folk baroque” as played solo in the ’60s by Davy Graham and Bert Jansch, developed by John Renbourn and Danny Thompson in Pentangle, and performed in a shroud of mystique and withdrawal by Nick Drake. ‘Waiting For The Storm’ utterly recaptures that Witchseason glimmer – timeless, intimate and immediate, with the air listening in and the feeling that the songs are at the forefront of a push of story and message.

As guitarists and as singers, Craig and Mark are perfectly matched. Acoustic fingerpicking styles knit together in a generous skein of give-and-take, with each man providing varied electric textures as and where needed. Their quiet, rough-finished voices blur and separate in sighed harmonies, tinged with weariness, a little foreboding and some scarred-knuckle gentleness. Between them, Hannes d’Hoine plays double bass as if it were a straining mast, conjuring up deep thrums, solid gutsy plucking and ghostly bowed atmospherics. It’s very much a three-cornered exchange – almost telepathic in the players’ instinct to play just what is needed and no more.

As for the roots of the record, they drift – and no wonder. Though Mark and Craig are Scottish by origin, they’re wanderers by nature. The stoic discomfort blues of A Strange Place traces lightly over the angst of this lifestyle; the menacing weightlessness of its temporary, torn-up settlings. “Anyone entering this place they might say, / a strange place in which we belong…/ It’s a strange place we do run to, / a strange place to which we do run.” The slithering folk riffs and Simon & Garfunkel harmonies of Something On The Breeze raise up something more of home, via a Lowlands song of roaming and departure. (“Blowing through the open door that I have just walked through, / blowing me along to something new… / Looking forward to looking back on the things I’ve left behind, / somewhere a little further down the line.”)

Under even the dreamier-sounding songs, there’s a Scottish feel of hard lines: an undercurrent of poverty and menace dealt with stoically (“I see the cops on every corner, / people waiting ready to run. / Blue lights flashing out a warning – / someone’ll get hurt before the morning comes.”) Yet most of the underpinnings of the record come from one particular location: Mark’s current home of Port-au-Prince, in Haiti. Throughout ‘Waiting For The Storm’, Haiti breathes itself steamily into the mood and the music – mountains and stagnant creeks; tin roofs, heat and restlessness. There’s an occult foreboding here too, perhaps brought in by the business of living under the threat of capricious flooding, of drumming rain, or of violent passions swelling out of control. The answers flicker through the songs, half-seen, or viewed full in the face for an uneasy moment.??Some of it’s more relaxed; simply sketches and shadings of place and time. The winding sea currents of All The Doors Are Open (with Hannes’ grasping bass anchoring the surges of meter) invoke summer-struck stupor and an urge for motion. “All the doors are open, cars go past outside. / Won’t you take me with you, take me for a ride?… / I gulp down the icy water, drowning in the heat. / Hills lean over the hazy sea, wheels turning to the beat.” The instrumental Black Sail travels in a wave-roll and a dark minor key, telling a wordless story: moods shift weather-wise like bands of sunset and lowering clouds, the accelerations and slowings of the guitars tracked point-by-point by Hanne’s bowed bass.

With the title track, however, more threatening moods gather. “See the vinyl spinning its strange pattern in my head / and I can’t help thinking about something somebody said…” Like a brooding canvas, Waiting For The Storm uses the old expressionist motif of threatening weather to illustrate roils in the spirit, but leaves us hanging and expectant. “The sky is getting darker and the glass begins to fall. / The f - Misfit City, 9 October 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

This has come as a bit of a turn-up for the books, and no mistake. Again, I was just browsing around – can’t even cite boredom as an excuse at the moment either as I have a stack of good and great recent records & reissues to plough through – and this did one of those inexplicable “standing out without really having a reason to do so” things that end up being far more intriguing than something that leaps off the page with bells and whistles. I suppose it’s my nature to find more fun in being inquisitive about the enigmatic rather than be excited about the obvious, so with that in mind I happily forked out for this one. And, as is the way with these things, I find myself once more pleasantly surprised by what arrived.

There’s a strange pathway that can be carved through people’s record collections sometimes where some of the more obscure artifacts can be linked through most of their shelfbound neighbours through reasons both obvious and spurious: I know of Craig Ward from True Bypass, who I know from Sleepingdog, who I know from A Winged Victory For The Sullen (with a swift diversion via Nu Nog Even Niet), and even that Matroyshka stacking doesn’t really scratch the surface given the myriad other bands and styles he’s dabbled in over the years. I must admit to this being the first time that I had come across Mark Mulholland, but a quick read of his site proved to be an interesting read and maybe a suggestion of how this record came about and also how it sounds.
Both musicians are Scottish, but their wings have spread – Craig spent many a year in Belgium (during which time he spent nine years in the company of dEUS) before returning to Glasgow, Mark is currently based in Haiti. Friends since their teens, their paths crossed more than a couple of times during their travelling years, although these many geographical shenanigans would go some way to explaining why Waiting For The Storm has taken a while to come to fruition: mooted in 2007, recorded in 2010 and 2011, and now released in 2012.
This time spent is evident throughout the record, as it’s an incredibly intricate and patient work. It’s also very Scottish in nature but containing hints and flavours of other countries and cities, suggesting a pooling of reminiscence for the two protagonists. Opening with the delicate Something On The Breeze, there is an unmistakable far-Northern folk feel to the gentle guitar playing, while the vocal melody and harmonies bring to mind the New York of Lou Reed and Simon & Garfunkel. Elsewhere, vocal melodies in All The Doors Are Open and Secret Places strike me as being somewhat Belgian in mood, reminding me of serene versions of passages from Creature With The Atom Brain’s first full album. There’s even room for some late-night deep Southern Blues, A Strange Place evoking everything that its title suggests.
There is a third element to proceedings here, and one that evokes the strongest musical memory: the double bass of Hannes d’Honne has a definite spirit of Danny Thompson about his playing, the spooky Icy Shivers in particular having something of Three Hours surrounding and breathing through it, and in general adding a level of gravity and thoughtfulness to the songs and intricate acoustic guitar playing of Mark and Craig, with the instrumental Black Sail especially benefiting. And finally, Haitian polymath Frankétienne contributes Les Belles Promesses (an excerpt from his 1998 book Voix Marassa), the septuagenarian artist adding his voice to his words to help create a strange and beautiful Creole/Celtic drama.

All in all, this is one of those unique records that feel as if you’re being taken on a journey – a feeling made all the more magical by not expecting that to happen. By the time The Six O’Clock Whistle (and I really do hope that’s a deliberate Chigley reference!) has ended, there’s certainly a feeling of distance travelled that sits well with the listener. Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward have made something rather unique thanks to their separate journeys, linked by a desire to share their origins. I’m looking forward to more musical postcards from them in the future.

Available from the lovely people at Jezus Factory Records or the equally lovely folks at Cannery Row Records, and presumably from shops as well.
- 6 Days from Tomorrow – September 9, 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Roving troubadours Mulholland and Ward started out as youthful friends in their native Glasgow but they’ve both wandered over many miles and through several musical adventures before getting together again to record this set of songs, their mature response to the British folk of the 60s and 70s that influenced them in their youth. It’s perhaps not surprising that the recordings for this album were made in Berlin, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Port-au-Prince, reflecting as it does the footloose life that these guys – Mark Mulholland in particular – lead.
The sound of this album is defined by the interplay of acoustic guitars from the main men, with Hannes d’Hoine’s marvellous double bass playing underpinning every track. There’s a jazz style to his playing, with a warm, sinuous expressiveness that adds depth and complexity to the relatively simple structures from which many of these tracks are built. I mentioned the twin acoustic guitars leading proceedings because that is the overall impression you’re left with, but I think that’s a mandolin picking out the main theme to The Six O’Clock Whistle (an instrumental), and that sounds like an electric guitar embellishing the hypnotic Strange Place. Other instruments are available, and are used. This latter track is Craig Ward’s song, and an amazing atmosphere is built around a repeated phrase (from Hannes d’Hoine, I presume) on the double bass. It’s the beautiful meshing of the three guys playing that is captivating as warm, liquid notes somehow convey comfort but also the dark hint of something threatening, almost simultaneously. In this way, the dark beauty of Nick Drake’s music springs to mind as a reference point.
Mark Mulholland contributes the bulk of the material and, if you’ve heard his work before, you’ll probably recognise his themes. His manifesto is right there in the opening song, Something on the Breeze: “I’m looking forward to looking back on the things I’ve left behind/From somewhere a little further down the line”. Living for the moment and ever restless for new experiences, his recent adventures have landed him in Port-au-Prince and the more febrile atmosphere in the tropical heat seems to haunt more than one of these songs. Paradoxically, this seems most apparent on Icy Shivers; “things that crawl and things that bite” he sings over a dark, slow-pulsing arrangement, “It’s a long, long time till the dawn”. I’ve found it difficult to enjoy Mark Mulholland’s singing in the past (he’s not the most tuneful, really) but on this album he’s found a way to make his singing fit the arrangements that works rather well. The lyrics come over as quiet musing, a response to the dark threads of the music. And that fits the vibe of the album. One song is a setting for a text by Franketienne, a Haitian writer, and I would guess the language is Haitian Creole – no translation offered though so you just have to go with the pleasing exoticism of the experience.
Mostly, though, it’s the music that really impresses, and the more I listen, the more ambitious the whole thing sounds. Each track has been built with such care and attention to detail that it takes greater familiarity to reveal all that’s there. You get taken to some dark places along the way on this album, which makes the understated joy of The Six O’Clock Whistle a rather special and memorable way of closing the whole thing. These three guys are just embarking on a long tour with this music, and I can imagine that it’s in the nature of the beast that they’ll find new things in it every night. John Davy
- No Depression, August 23 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Roving troubadours Mulholland and Ward started out as youthful friends in their native Glasgow but they’ve both wandered over many miles and through several musical adventures before getting together again to record this set of songs, their mature response to the British folk of the 60s and 70s that influenced them in their youth. It’s perhaps not surprising that the recordings for this album were made in Berlin, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Port-au-Prince, reflecting as it does the footloose life that these guys – Mark Mulholland in particular – lead.
The sound of this album is defined by the interplay of acoustic guitars from the main men, with Hannes d’Hoine’s marvellous double bass playing underpinning every track. There’s a jazz style to his playing, with a warm, sinuous expressiveness that adds depth and complexity to the relatively simple structures from which many of these tracks are built. I mentioned the twin acoustic guitars leading proceedings because that is the overall impression you’re left with, but I think that’s a mandolin picking out the main theme to The Six O’Clock Whistle (an instrumental), and that sounds like an electric guitar embellishing the hypnotic Strange Place. Other instruments are available, and are used. This latter track is Craig Ward’s song, and an amazing atmosphere is built around a repeated phrase (from Hannes d’Hoine, I presume) on the double bass. It’s the beautiful meshing of the three guys playing that is captivating as warm, liquid notes somehow convey comfort but also the dark hint of something threatening, almost simultaneously. In this way, the dark beauty of Nick Drake’s music springs to mind as a reference point.
Mark Mulholland contributes the bulk of the material and, if you’ve heard his work before, you’ll probably recognise his themes. His manifesto is right there in the opening song, Something on the Breeze: “I’m looking forward to looking back on the things I’ve left behind/From somewhere a little further down the line”. Living for the moment and ever restless for new experiences, his recent adventures have landed him in Port-au-Prince and the more febrile atmosphere in the tropical heat seems to haunt more than one of these songs. Paradoxically, this seems most apparent on Icy Shivers; “things that crawl and things that bite” he sings over a dark, slow-pulsing arrangement, “It’s a long, long time till the dawn”. I’ve found it difficult to enjoy Mark Mulholland’s singing in the past (he’s not the most tuneful, really) but on this album he’s found a way to make his singing fit the arrangements that works rather well. The lyrics come over as quiet musing, a response to the dark threads of the music. And that fits the vibe of the album. One song is a setting for a text by Franketienne, a Haitian writer, and I would guess the language is Haitian Creole – no translation offered though so you just have to go with the pleasing exoticism of the experience.
Mostly, though, it’s the music that really impresses, and the more I listen, the more ambitious the whole thing sounds. Each track has been built with such care and attention to detail that it takes greater familiarity to reveal all that’s there. You get taken to some dark places along the way on this album, which makes the understated joy of The Six O’Clock Whistle a rather special and memorable way of closing the whole thing. These three guys are just embarking on a long tour with this music, and I can imagine that it’s in the nature of the beast that they’ll find new things in it every night. John Davy
- No Depression, August 23 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

The careers of Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward have crossed points at various points since the ‘80s, but only now have the two Scotsmen teamed up for an album. This acoustic affair, reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel, is all close harmonies and plucked guitars, overlapping gentle songs that soothe and weep. - Q, November 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

The careers of Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward have crossed points at various points since the ‘80s, but only now have the two Scotsmen teamed up for an album. This acoustic affair, reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel, is all close harmonies and plucked guitars, overlapping gentle songs that soothe and weep. - Q, November 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Waiting for the Storm reunites two boyhood friends whose musical paths have taken them on very different journeys. If the songs here seem like the natural, if chilled out, product of Mark Mulholland, a resident of scrunge-grass band Two Dollar Bash, Craig Wards appearance is less expected. More usually associated with experimentation and boundary pushing via bands such as dEUS, Kiss My Jazz and a whole host of Antwerp’s core alternative bands, maybe it is that curveball attitude that finds him here in the first place. Also in the mix is Hannes D’Hoine, one of the people behind This Immortal Coil’s Dark Age of Love, a wonderful tribute to This Mortal Coil, on double bass.

Obvious comparisons are to the likes of Drake, Jansch and Pentangle, dreamy baroque folk that is both timeless and otherworldly, a wonderfully subdued collection of songs built mainly on the interplay between two acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies and bass. And if it seems to come off on first hearing as a mood album, something to sit in the background in a fairly unobtrusive manner, the more you play it the more ambitious and atmospheric you will find it.

But it is not the actual technicalities that give this album it’s greatest qualities, it is the less tangible factors that shape it, the ones that are hardest to pin down and rightly so. The mystique and medievalism, the late night jazz chill and the ephemeral and delicate nature of the sounds, the shadows that lie in the corners of the songs and the dark paths they sometimes weave are all as important, if not more so, than the musical structures and outer clothing being offered up.

Case in point is Les Belles Promesses were the vocals are taken by Haitian writer Franketienne, delivered in presumably some Haitian dialect and by virtue of the language barrier to most listeners render the voice as an instrument that solos and riffs over lilting and hypnotic acoustic guitars but no less listenable for it’s lack of direct communication.

As they say on the penultimate track, it’s a “strange place to which we have come” but strange isn’t a bad thing, it’s just different, creative, challenging, intriguing, unique and in this case very satisfying.
- Green Man Review, November 11, 2012


"Waiting for the Storm Jezus Factory Records ***"

Scottish musicians channelling Bert Jansch and John Renbourn are thinner on the ground than they use to be, but Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward wax folk-lyrical with style on Waiting for the Storm. Mulholland, who now lives in Haiti, draws deep from the well of his adoptive homeland.
His invitation to Haitian poet Frankétienne to collaborate on the elegaic Les Belles Promesses lures his album onto another wistful, otherworldly plain. Elsewhere, Mulholland’s genteel vocals recall Sonny Condell in his Tír na nÓg days, with infinite guitar lines echoing the lyric long past nightfall.
At a time when songs must sell themselves on a handful of hearings, Waiting for the Storm wears its allegiances lightly, tipping its hat towards slide guitar blues on A Strange Place, with louche confidence the music will speak for itself – and yield hidden riches over countless return visits. Siobhan Long
- The Irish Times, Ireland, Friday, October 12, 2012


"Waiting for the Storm Jezus Factory Records ***"

Scottish musicians channelling Bert Jansch and John Renbourn are thinner on the ground than they use to be, but Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward wax folk-lyrical with style on Waiting for the Storm. Mulholland, who now lives in Haiti, draws deep from the well of his adoptive homeland.
His invitation to Haitian poet Frankétienne to collaborate on the elegaic Les Belles Promesses lures his album onto another wistful, otherworldly plain. Elsewhere, Mulholland’s genteel vocals recall Sonny Condell in his Tír na nÓg days, with infinite guitar lines echoing the lyric long past nightfall.
At a time when songs must sell themselves on a handful of hearings, Waiting for the Storm wears its allegiances lightly, tipping its hat towards slide guitar blues on A Strange Place, with louche confidence the music will speak for itself – and yield hidden riches over countless return visits. Siobhan Long
- The Irish Times, Ireland, Friday, October 12, 2012


"Waiting for the Storm Jezus Factory Records ***"

Scottish musicians channelling Bert Jansch and John Renbourn are thinner on the ground than they use to be, but Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward wax folk-lyrical with style on Waiting for the Storm. Mulholland, who now lives in Haiti, draws deep from the well of his adoptive homeland.
His invitation to Haitian poet Frankétienne to collaborate on the elegaic Les Belles Promesses lures his album onto another wistful, otherworldly plain. Elsewhere, Mulholland’s genteel vocals recall Sonny Condell in his Tír na nÓg days, with infinite guitar lines echoing the lyric long past nightfall.
At a time when songs must sell themselves on a handful of hearings, Waiting for the Storm wears its allegiances lightly, tipping its hat towards slide guitar blues on A Strange Place, with louche confidence the music will speak for itself – and yield hidden riches over countless return visits. Siobhan Long
- The Irish Times, Ireland, Friday, October 12, 2012


"Waiting for the Storm Jezus Factory Records ***"

Scottish musicians channelling Bert Jansch and John Renbourn are thinner on the ground than they use to be, but Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward wax folk-lyrical with style on Waiting for the Storm. Mulholland, who now lives in Haiti, draws deep from the well of his adoptive homeland.
His invitation to Haitian poet Frankétienne to collaborate on the elegaic Les Belles Promesses lures his album onto another wistful, otherworldly plain. Elsewhere, Mulholland’s genteel vocals recall Sonny Condell in his Tír na nÓg days, with infinite guitar lines echoing the lyric long past nightfall.
At a time when songs must sell themselves on a handful of hearings, Waiting for the Storm wears its allegiances lightly, tipping its hat towards slide guitar blues on A Strange Place, with louche confidence the music will speak for itself – and yield hidden riches over countless return visits. Siobhan Long
- The Irish Times, Ireland, Friday, October 12, 2012


"British folk music - five summer treats"

There is a remarkable and bold collaboration on an album by Scottish-born musicians Mark Mullholland and Craig Ward called Waiting For The Storm. The folk singers and guitarists are joined by 75-year-old Haiti poet and artist Frankétienne on the song Les Belles Promesses. Although not well known in the English-speaking world, artist and poet Frankétienne has star status in French and Creole-speaking countries and was rumoured to be on the short list for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009. Of the more traditionally folk songs, Secret Places and Watching You Sleep are dreamily strong, and there a sweet instrumental called The Six O'Clock Whistle. Martin Chilton - The Telegraph, August 21, 2012


"British folk music - five summer treats"

There is a remarkable and bold collaboration on an album by Scottish-born musicians Mark Mullholland and Craig Ward called Waiting For The Storm. The folk singers and guitarists are joined by 75-year-old Haiti poet and artist Frankétienne on the song Les Belles Promesses. Although not well known in the English-speaking world, artist and poet Frankétienne has star status in French and Creole-speaking countries and was rumoured to be on the short list for a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009. Of the more traditionally folk songs, Secret Places and Watching You Sleep are dreamily strong, and there a sweet instrumental called The Six O'Clock Whistle. Martin Chilton - The Telegraph, August 21, 2012


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Glaswegian singer-songwriter, and Haiti résident Mark Mulholland teams up with former deus man Craig Ward for an album of gentle exquisite beauty. The acoustic interplay inevitably recalls John Renbourn, and the duo describes this record as « their own take on the British folk tradition », but at times its jazzy undertones recall some of the gréât Windham hill guitar samplers, and, in the délicate vocal harmonies, a grumpier Simon and Garfunkel.
Recorded in Berlin, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Port-au-Prince, the duo is supported in marvellously unintrusive fashion byBelgian double bass player Hannes d’Hoine, and there’s a guest appearance by the Haitian poet, painter, playwright and actor Frankétienne for a vocal on « Les Belles Promesses ».
Seven of the ten tracks are Mulholland originals, with highlights including opener « Something on the Breeze » and the insistent guitar motif of « Icy Shivers » - two sides of a hugely impressive coin. Equally soi s Ward’s « A Strange Place », which carries an atmospheric, twisted blues-guitar figure reminiscent of Ry Cooder at his best.
A late night masterpiece to salve bruised souls, Waiting for The Storm will have you returning time and again, one of the best albums of the year" John Atkin (5/5)
- R2 (UK), November 12, 2012 (5 stars from 5)


"Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, "Waiting for the Storm""

Glaswegian singer-songwriter, and Haiti résident Mark Mulholland teams up with former deus man Craig Ward for an album of gentle exquisite beauty. The acoustic interplay inevitably recalls John Renbourn, and the duo describes this record as « their own take on the British folk tradition », but at times its jazzy undertones recall some of the gréât Windham hill guitar samplers, and, in the délicate vocal harmonies, a grumpier Simon and Garfunkel.
Recorded in Berlin, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Port-au-Prince, the duo is supported in marvellously unintrusive fashion byBelgian double bass player Hannes d’Hoine, and there’s a guest appearance by the Haitian poet, painter, playwright and actor Frankétienne for a vocal on « Les Belles Promesses ».
Seven of the ten tracks are Mulholland originals, with highlights including opener « Something on the Breeze » and the insistent guitar motif of « Icy Shivers » - two sides of a hugely impressive coin. Equally soi s Ward’s « A Strange Place », which carries an atmospheric, twisted blues-guitar figure reminiscent of Ry Cooder at his best.
A late night masterpiece to salve bruised souls, Waiting for The Storm will have you returning time and again, one of the best albums of the year" John Atkin (5/5)
- R2 (UK), November 12, 2012 (5 stars from 5)


"Best of 2012"

There is a bit of a theme running through the last few records on this list, although I promise that if it was intentional on my part, it was wholly subconscious. For sitting happily at the end of Waiting For The Storm is yet another childhood treat in the form of Chigley’s Biscuit Factory Beer-o-Clock signal The Six O’Clock Whistle, which leads me to hope that this record is the first part of a trilogy. That of course isn’t the only reason why I play this record constantly, the main reason being that this is an incredible baroque collection that fans of Nick Drake should be snapping up by the handful. Taking influences from all over the place and crafting them all into their own incredibly moving sound. At its heart though is a musical travelogue from these two Glaswegian guitarists who have bonded once more after growing up together and then spending their careers moving on their own separate roads, taking on different cultural influences along the way and then meeting up again to create their own musical definition of Home. It’s certainly Scottish in feel, but uniquely distilled into something rather special indeed thanks to the protagonists’ own travels and travails. - 6 Days from Tomorrow, UK, December 2012 (Number 21 in top 50 albums of 2012)


"Best of 2012"

There is a bit of a theme running through the last few records on this list, although I promise that if it was intentional on my part, it was wholly subconscious. For sitting happily at the end of Waiting For The Storm is yet another childhood treat in the form of Chigley’s Biscuit Factory Beer-o-Clock signal The Six O’Clock Whistle, which leads me to hope that this record is the first part of a trilogy. That of course isn’t the only reason why I play this record constantly, the main reason being that this is an incredible baroque collection that fans of Nick Drake should be snapping up by the handful. Taking influences from all over the place and crafting them all into their own incredibly moving sound. At its heart though is a musical travelogue from these two Glaswegian guitarists who have bonded once more after growing up together and then spending their careers moving on their own separate roads, taking on different cultural influences along the way and then meeting up again to create their own musical definition of Home. It’s certainly Scottish in feel, but uniquely distilled into something rather special indeed thanks to the protagonists’ own travels and travails. - 6 Days from Tomorrow, UK, December 2012 (Number 21 in top 50 albums of 2012)


"The Dirty Dozen - a selection of Green Man reviews from the last year"

But it is not the actual technicalities that give this album it’s greatest qualities, it is the less tangible factors that shape it, the ones that are hardest to pin down and rightly so. The mystique and medievalism, the late night jazz chill and the ephemeral and delicate nature of the sounds, the shadows that lie in the corners of the songs and the dark paths they sometimes weave are all as important, if not more so, than the musical structures and outer clothing being offered up. - Green Man Review (UK) December 2012 (album chosen as one of top 12 albums of 2012)


"The Dirty Dozen - a selection of Green Man reviews from the last year"

But it is not the actual technicalities that give this album it’s greatest qualities, it is the less tangible factors that shape it, the ones that are hardest to pin down and rightly so. The mystique and medievalism, the late night jazz chill and the ephemeral and delicate nature of the sounds, the shadows that lie in the corners of the songs and the dark paths they sometimes weave are all as important, if not more so, than the musical structures and outer clothing being offered up. - Green Man Review (UK) December 2012 (album chosen as one of top 12 albums of 2012)


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

The Cactus and the Dragon is Glaswegian Mulholland’s second solo album, it is dark and brooding. His vocals echo a strong sense of nostalgic Americana, so strong that he could have been mistaken as American. There are many strong points to this album, for example ‘Haunted Feeling’ which is truly haunting, with accents of atmospheric accordion, and ‘This Time Of Night’, a gorgeous interlude containing beautiful violin. ‘Footsteps on the Stairs ‘is the stand out track though, it’s a jazzy number, it’s keys tingle your senses and vibrate extraordinarily in your ear drums. The Cactus and the Dragon is an interesting mixture of genres. I believe the album would be a much stronger piece of work if Mulholland had stuck to one style, rather than switching between many. Perhaps this strangely mixed record is down to where it was recorded, in the artsy city, Berlin. Whatever influenced Mulholland was certainly something special, as his sound is developed and incredibly unique. - Lydia - Mudkiss, (UK) Feb 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

The Cactus and the Dragon is Glaswegian Mulholland’s second solo album, it is dark and brooding. His vocals echo a strong sense of nostalgic Americana, so strong that he could have been mistaken as American. There are many strong points to this album, for example ‘Haunted Feeling’ which is truly haunting, with accents of atmospheric accordion, and ‘This Time Of Night’, a gorgeous interlude containing beautiful violin. ‘Footsteps on the Stairs ‘is the stand out track though, it’s a jazzy number, it’s keys tingle your senses and vibrate extraordinarily in your ear drums. The Cactus and the Dragon is an interesting mixture of genres. I believe the album would be a much stronger piece of work if Mulholland had stuck to one style, rather than switching between many. Perhaps this strangely mixed record is down to where it was recorded, in the artsy city, Berlin. Whatever influenced Mulholland was certainly something special, as his sound is developed and incredibly unique. - Lydia - Mudkiss, (UK) Feb 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

Although there is a title cut finishing off this album, the title also gives a nice nod to the musical feeling established throughout the record. The cactus of the western plains is there, but there is also an exotic, worldly touch with the guitar sounds and deep in the mix accordions that gave me a bit of the Eastern feel of the dragon. The tempo directs things toward laconic folk rock. There is a nice mix of electric and acoustic guitar between the songs. The vocals are perhaps a bit too laid back at times, but they have a nice quality that keeps things a bit dreamier than the usual folk-rock album. That is aside from one lounge song misstep that sounded out of place on this album. But the title cut closed this out in fine fashion with its Decembrists meet Spiritualized feeling. Mark Mulholland is an interesting artist and one worth keeping an eye on. David Hintz - Folk World, March 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

Although there is a title cut finishing off this album, the title also gives a nice nod to the musical feeling established throughout the record. The cactus of the western plains is there, but there is also an exotic, worldly touch with the guitar sounds and deep in the mix accordions that gave me a bit of the Eastern feel of the dragon. The tempo directs things toward laconic folk rock. There is a nice mix of electric and acoustic guitar between the songs. The vocals are perhaps a bit too laid back at times, but they have a nice quality that keeps things a bit dreamier than the usual folk-rock album. That is aside from one lounge song misstep that sounded out of place on this album. But the title cut closed this out in fine fashion with its Decembrists meet Spiritualized feeling. Mark Mulholland is an interesting artist and one worth keeping an eye on. David Hintz - Folk World, March 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

When not recording and touring with country-folkers Two Dollar Bash, Scot Mark Mulholland runs a tandem solo career. His second lone effort, « The Cactus and the Dragon » (Cannery Row, 3/5), mostly follows a rockier singer-songwriter path, although both folk and country appear on (respectively) « Another Fallen Star » and « Middle Lane Driver », a satirical pop at middle aged commuters « listening to Sussudio » on their way home. - Q, (UK) March 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

When not recording and touring with country-folkers Two Dollar Bash, Scot Mark Mulholland runs a tandem solo career. His second lone effort, « The Cactus and the Dragon » (Cannery Row, 3/5), mostly follows a rockier singer-songwriter path, although both folk and country appear on (respectively) « Another Fallen Star » and « Middle Lane Driver », a satirical pop at middle aged commuters « listening to Sussudio » on their way home. - Q, (UK) March 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

A ripe collection of restless tales-from-the-road, the default style on his second solo LP is classic American roots-rock, heard to best effect on the laconic « Why d'you treat me this way », an inspired homage to Dylan's « Things have changed ». But there are shredding psych guitars on « Floodgates » and the title track, jangle-pop on « Something New » and Jansch-like fingerpicking on « Another Falling Star » Nigel Williamson (3/5)
- Uncut (UK) Feb 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

A ripe collection of restless tales-from-the-road, the default style on his second solo LP is classic American roots-rock, heard to best effect on the laconic « Why d'you treat me this way », an inspired homage to Dylan's « Things have changed ». But there are shredding psych guitars on « Floodgates » and the title track, jangle-pop on « Something New » and Jansch-like fingerpicking on « Another Falling Star » Nigel Williamson (3/5)
- Uncut (UK) Feb 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

The nasal, Dylanesque vocal twang adopted for the opening track, "Why D'You Treat Me This Way", gives way to something less novel on "Haunted Feeling", which has a wonderful accordion and acoustic guitar accompaniment. At first I thought them just too laconic, but they’ve grown on me, particularly the latter. "Floodgates" has a fine psychedelic-type sound, and "This Time Of Night" is an instrumental with inspired strings supporting the acoustic guitar - all very dashing and quite beautiful. "Something New" has a sparkling electric guitar. "Firelight Fantasy" is back to a more Dylan-esque delivery, with a touch of Donovan - good tune, good number, although way too short. Then, right at the end, the title track raises the psychedelic flag. Suddenly, there’s a ‘wow’ factor. It’s off the scale compared to the rest of the album, a titanic track that could sit alongside anything done by any psych band, past or present.
Out of ten, “The Cactus And The Dragon” scores a respectable seven (7/10)
- Leicester Bangs, (UK) 25 February 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

The nasal, Dylanesque vocal twang adopted for the opening track, "Why D'You Treat Me This Way", gives way to something less novel on "Haunted Feeling", which has a wonderful accordion and acoustic guitar accompaniment. At first I thought them just too laconic, but they’ve grown on me, particularly the latter. "Floodgates" has a fine psychedelic-type sound, and "This Time Of Night" is an instrumental with inspired strings supporting the acoustic guitar - all very dashing and quite beautiful. "Something New" has a sparkling electric guitar. "Firelight Fantasy" is back to a more Dylan-esque delivery, with a touch of Donovan - good tune, good number, although way too short. Then, right at the end, the title track raises the psychedelic flag. Suddenly, there’s a ‘wow’ factor. It’s off the scale compared to the rest of the album, a titanic track that could sit alongside anything done by any psych band, past or present.
Out of ten, “The Cactus And The Dragon” scores a respectable seven (7/10)
- Leicester Bangs, (UK) 25 February 2012


"The Cactus and the Dragon by Mark Mulholland out today on Cannery Row Records"

Mark Mulholland certainly gets around. The Glaswegian globetrotter seems to have roamed and played over much of the surface of the globe, currently making his home in Haiti.?There’s a mainly country/folk flavour to the collection, exemplified by Middle Lane Driver, a wry slice of country and western with a dark twist at the end while the strings of ‘Sweet Taste’ and lounge jazz piano of ‘Footsteps On The Stairs’ show that Mulholland can be poignant or ironic, and straddle a genre or two in the process. Across the whole record lie his husky, deep Dylany vocals, with more of Nashville than his roots in his accent. He can never be accused of hanging around too long on one track or padding out the record with weaker material. There are some nice lead lines scattered throughout, as befits someone who plies his trade as an axeman for several bands.‘The Cactus and The Dragon’ doesn’t do much wrong and does plenty that’s right. (8/10) - Never Enough Notes, February 2012


"The Cactus and the Dragon by Mark Mulholland out today on Cannery Row Records"

Mark Mulholland certainly gets around. The Glaswegian globetrotter seems to have roamed and played over much of the surface of the globe, currently making his home in Haiti.?There’s a mainly country/folk flavour to the collection, exemplified by Middle Lane Driver, a wry slice of country and western with a dark twist at the end while the strings of ‘Sweet Taste’ and lounge jazz piano of ‘Footsteps On The Stairs’ show that Mulholland can be poignant or ironic, and straddle a genre or two in the process. Across the whole record lie his husky, deep Dylany vocals, with more of Nashville than his roots in his accent. He can never be accused of hanging around too long on one track or padding out the record with weaker material. There are some nice lead lines scattered throughout, as befits someone who plies his trade as an axeman for several bands.‘The Cactus and The Dragon’ doesn’t do much wrong and does plenty that’s right. (8/10) - Never Enough Notes, February 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

I sat down to write this review of Mark Mulholland’s new album at around midday today; it is now 18:55. The problem I’m having with writing this preamble is that I’m about to start discussing a twenty-first century indie-folk singer, a description that will no doubt bring forth memories of the likes of Camera Obscura and Scottish contemporaries Belle & Sebastian: in other words, twee farts of nothing that should by rights have you running for the nearest rusty scalpel with which to remove your own ears. But then I’d quite like you to keep reading this, so please disperse said images from your mind and give this album a chance.
Mulholland’s second record The Cactus and the Dragon may have the same roots in American folk pop as his contemporaries, but that’s where the similarities end. This is going back to the darker side of folk; scratched and discordant vocals – some his, some guest – that echoes Waits and Dylan (albeit with perhaps slightly more polished edges), an acoustic guitar that sounds surprisingly ominous... songs that aren’t in the key of C! For an album recorded in Berlin by a Scottish troubadour who has spend as much time wandering Europe as Mulholland, The Cactus and the Dragon has a surprisingly pungent scent of Americana.
This may not have the same kind of wretched desperation of Rain Dogs or the doom and dread of I’m Your Man, but even at this album’s lightest moments there’s a definite sadness: ‘Haunted Feeling’ intertwines soft guitars and an accordion beautifully, but talks of “reaching out for things that are gone, and they won’t come back’, and at the other end of the scale the urgently psychedelic title track closes the album with a fraught confession that “’The bottles on the board stand like pawns in front of me”.
It’s clear from just one listen to the album that Mulholland has a range of influences and enjoys a huge number of styles; what’s impressive is his ability to draw on them and create a collection of music that is, whilst varied, undeniably his. His voice and style lay somewhere between Leonard Cohen and Mark Kozelek, although the lounge piano, drunken vocals, slide guitar and hi-hat-heavy jazz drums on highlight ‘Footsteps on the Stairs’ are perhaps closer to Wilco’s ‘Jesus Etc.’. There’s also a sense of the epic looking to burst through on a couple of tracks: ‘Floodgates’ and ‘World Spins Round’ with their searing guitar solos could easily have tipped over into self-indulgent Matt Bellamy-like wankery, but do well to rein themselves in at under four and three minutes respectively.
The Cactus and the Dragon, with its shades of dark green and brown and reeking of stale coffee from a roadside diner, is a seriously impressive piece of work. Dan Lucas (8/10)
- Drowned in Sound, Feb 1, 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon""

I sat down to write this review of Mark Mulholland’s new album at around midday today; it is now 18:55. The problem I’m having with writing this preamble is that I’m about to start discussing a twenty-first century indie-folk singer, a description that will no doubt bring forth memories of the likes of Camera Obscura and Scottish contemporaries Belle & Sebastian: in other words, twee farts of nothing that should by rights have you running for the nearest rusty scalpel with which to remove your own ears. But then I’d quite like you to keep reading this, so please disperse said images from your mind and give this album a chance.
Mulholland’s second record The Cactus and the Dragon may have the same roots in American folk pop as his contemporaries, but that’s where the similarities end. This is going back to the darker side of folk; scratched and discordant vocals – some his, some guest – that echoes Waits and Dylan (albeit with perhaps slightly more polished edges), an acoustic guitar that sounds surprisingly ominous... songs that aren’t in the key of C! For an album recorded in Berlin by a Scottish troubadour who has spend as much time wandering Europe as Mulholland, The Cactus and the Dragon has a surprisingly pungent scent of Americana.
This may not have the same kind of wretched desperation of Rain Dogs or the doom and dread of I’m Your Man, but even at this album’s lightest moments there’s a definite sadness: ‘Haunted Feeling’ intertwines soft guitars and an accordion beautifully, but talks of “reaching out for things that are gone, and they won’t come back’, and at the other end of the scale the urgently psychedelic title track closes the album with a fraught confession that “’The bottles on the board stand like pawns in front of me”.
It’s clear from just one listen to the album that Mulholland has a range of influences and enjoys a huge number of styles; what’s impressive is his ability to draw on them and create a collection of music that is, whilst varied, undeniably his. His voice and style lay somewhere between Leonard Cohen and Mark Kozelek, although the lounge piano, drunken vocals, slide guitar and hi-hat-heavy jazz drums on highlight ‘Footsteps on the Stairs’ are perhaps closer to Wilco’s ‘Jesus Etc.’. There’s also a sense of the epic looking to burst through on a couple of tracks: ‘Floodgates’ and ‘World Spins Round’ with their searing guitar solos could easily have tipped over into self-indulgent Matt Bellamy-like wankery, but do well to rein themselves in at under four and three minutes respectively.
The Cactus and the Dragon, with its shades of dark green and brown and reeking of stale coffee from a roadside diner, is a seriously impressive piece of work. Dan Lucas (8/10)
- Drowned in Sound, Feb 1, 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon"

As if he wasn't busy enough playing with Two Dollar Bash and working on youth music projects in Port au Prince, Mulholland has also found a window to release his second solo album, « The Cactus and the Dragon ». Dylanish of voice and a fleet-fingered acoustic picker, the peripatetic Mulholland recorded the Album in Berlin, Antwerp and San Francisco, but again it hangs together beautifully.
Whether it's the gently Latin-flavoured « Another Falling Star », the rollicking country of « Middle Lane Driver, the barroom piano jazz of « Footsteps On The Stairs » or the psychedelic power-pop of « Something New », Mulholland is a master of his craft.
(4 stars from 5) - R2 magazine (UK) September 2012


"Mark Mulholland "The Cactus and the Dragon"

As if he wasn't busy enough playing with Two Dollar Bash and working on youth music projects in Port au Prince, Mulholland has also found a window to release his second solo album, « The Cactus and the Dragon ». Dylanish of voice and a fleet-fingered acoustic picker, the peripatetic Mulholland recorded the Album in Berlin, Antwerp and San Francisco, but again it hangs together beautifully.
Whether it's the gently Latin-flavoured « Another Falling Star », the rollicking country of « Middle Lane Driver, the barroom piano jazz of « Footsteps On The Stairs » or the psychedelic power-pop of « Something New », Mulholland is a master of his craft.
(4 stars from 5) - R2 magazine (UK) September 2012


Discography

2016 - The Afro-Haitian Experimental Orchestra (as producer and musician) - Glitterbeat Records
2016 - Rummage - "Somewhere Else" - Cannery Row Records CRR 1621
2014 - Frankétienne & Mark Mulholland - "Chaophonies" - Cannery Row Records/Jezus Factory Records CRR 1418
2012 - Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward - "Waiting for the Storm" - Cannery Row Records/Jezus Factory Records CRR 1216A
2011 - Mark Mulholland - "The Cactus and the Dragon _ Cannery Row Records CRR 1114
2011 - Two Dollar Bash - "New Adventures" - Cannery Row Records CRR 1113
2008 - Mark Mulholland - „The Devil on the Stairs“ (double album) Cannery Row Records/Troubadour Records TRCD002
- Two Dollar Bash – „Lost River“ - Cannery Row Records CRR 0806
2007 – Two Dollar Bash - „Two Dollar Bash“ Cannery Row Records CRR 0704
2006 – Two Dollar Bash - „On the Road“ - Cannery Row Records CRR 0602
Impure Thoughts - „Lights Ahead“ - Cannery Row Records CRR 0601

2004 - The Homebrew - “The Homebrew”
1999 - 12 Bar Blues -(3 songs on compilation CD)
1998 – Impure Thoughts "It's all mine"
1997 - Impure Thoughts "Life and how to ignore it"
1995 - Mark Mulholland and Andi Neate -"Norman's last stand"
1994 - The Oul Bog Warriors - "Beggars Bog" Pohodli Records PMS 022 CC
- Dakamakalaka - "Lead us not into Temptation"
1993 - The Oul' Bog Warriors - "The Oul' Bog Warriors from Hell" Pohodli Records PMS 009 CC
1992 - Mark Mulholland -"Setting Sail"
- Mark Mulholland -"One of those days"
1991 - The Purple Rizla Experience -"Lazy Giro Generation"
1987 - Mark Mulholland - "Still Life?"

Although many of the earlier albums were self-released, they achieved wide circulation through continual touring, street performances, etc. They will soon be made availble as CD-Rs on demand and digital downloads.

As well as Mark's original recordings above, here are a selection of his session work and guest recordings that have been released:

2011 - Jean Jean Roosevelt "Y a Danger" - acoustic guitar, compilation of Haitian music "Ayiti an Ale", Institut français en Haïti
2009 Strip me Naked „Good Morning Mr Average“ - acoustic and electric guitars, lapsteel (10 songs) – Cannery Row Records CRR 0910
Inneke 23 and the Lipstick Painters „Charcoal“ - mandola on „Happy in the End“ Corazong Records CRZ255113
Nikki Sudden and Phil Shoenfelt „Golden Vanity“ – mandola on „Jack Ketch“ and „Waiting for You“, backing vocals on „Love Makes her Shine“ and „Hanoi Jane“ Easy Action Records TRBCD009 (recorded 1998)
2008 – Fancie – „Stories of Fancie“ - mandola on „Let's Flip a Coin“ Arkain Records ARKR 052
2007 – Nikki Sudden and Captain Sensible - „He Put the Bomp in the Bomp“ complilation, acoustic guitar on „Kill City“ , Bomp Records
2006 - Nikki Sudden „The Truth Doesn't Matter“ - acoustic slide on „All this Buttoning and Unbuttoning“, mandola on „The Price of Nails“ – Secretly Canadian SC 153
Einar Stenseng - „Einar Stenseng“ - mandola on „The Last Flash of the Cavalier Nation“, „Hark, my drunken Brethren“ and „Leaving Jerusalem“ Big Dipper Records

Mark's songs have also been covered by a number of bands around the world. Releases include: Barleyjuice (USA) „Tartan is the colour“ on the album „Six Yanks“, The Lazy Pigs (CZ) „Don't Want to Hear you Laugh“ and „Saturday Night“ on the album „Pigs in the Parlour“, George Stott (UK)„Don't Want to Hear you Laugh“ on the album „Sun will Fall, Rain will Shine“, and The Mayhaws (USA) „Don't Want to Hear you Laugh“ on their album „Lonely Places“




Photos

Bio

Glasgow to Bamako via Port-au-Prince, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Galway,…

Mark Mulholland is a travelling singer, guitarist and songwriter, whose musical peregrinations have taken him from his native Scotland through most of Europe and North America, via Haiti, to Bamako, Mali, where he is now based. Always combining his solo career with various bands and projects including Two Dollar Bash, an acoustic folk/country/blues group with whom he has recorded 4 albums, he is also in demand as a session musician, having made recordings over the years with Nikki Sudden, Captain Sensible, Toumani Diabate, Tony Allen and many other artists, and as a producer, having recently produced two albums for Glitterbeat Records. His influences include Celtic folk, country, reggae, blues, jazz, rock and punk, and beside acoustic and electric guitar, he also turns his hand to other stringed instruments including banjo, mandola, bouzouki, bass and lap steel guitar.

Mark’s songs have been covered on albums in the USA (Barleyjuice, Sharla June and the Mayhaws), the UK (George Stott) and the Czech Republic (The Lazy Pigs) and also feature in the live repertoire of a wide variety of artists throughout Europe, America and beyond.

As well as multiple albums with bands, he has released two solo albums, “The Devil on the Stairs” (2008)  and “The Cactus and the Dragon” (2011), both well-received by critics. September 2012 saw the release of “Waiting for the Storm”, a collaboration with former dEUS guitarist Craig Ward and Belgian double bass player Hannes d’Hoine. The album was chosen by the Telegraph as one of “five summer treats of British folk music”, and rated by R2 magazine as “one of the best albums of 2012”.

After years of splitting his time between Berlin, Paris and other European cities, Mark moved to Haiti in 2010, where he worked with young local bands in a cultural centre in Port-au-Prince, as well as collaborating with many established Haitian artists, including the world-renowned writer, painter and actor Frankétienne, with whom he composed, recorded and produced an album of spoken word and music called “Chaophonies. During his time in Haïti, Mark made regular trips back to Europe to continue with his projects there, including several tours with Craig Ward and Hannes d’Hoine and a tour with Frankétienne. In May 2014 he made an album in San Francisco with two friends and long-time musical partners, Rusty Miller (Jackpot, Cake, Chuck Prophet, Jason Lytle) and James Finch Jr., under the name Rummage, entitled “Somewhere Else”, released in May 2016. Just before leaving Haiti, Mark played in a project with the legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, along with Sanba Zao and other top Haitian percussionists, bassist/keyboard player Jean-Philippe Dary, and electronic musician Olaf Hund, and the resulting album, co-produced by Mark, was released in June 2016 by Glitterbeat Records under the name the Afro Haitian Experimental Orchestra.

In September 2014, Mark and his wife moved to Bamako, Mali, where he has been working with many of the fantastic musicians there, including the kora maestros Toumani Diabate and Madou Sidiki Diabate, percussionist Cheickne Sissoko, multi-instrumentalist Yacouba Sissoko, singer Pamela Badjogo and keyboard player Cheick Tidiane Seck. The project with Hannes d’Hoine and Craig Ward has now expanded to include Yacouba Sissoko, taking the name Alba Griot Ensemble, and blends Celtic and mandingue influences. The band has now recorded an album with Grammy-winning producer David Odlum, which features guest appearances by Tony Allen, Madou Sidiki Diabate, Pamela Badjogo and Toumani Diabate, who invited the band to participate in the Festival Acoustik Bamako, an international music festival in the Malian capital in January 2016. Between August and October 2016, Mark produced the 5th album of the Malian Tuareg band Tamikrest for Glitterbeat, to be released in 2017.