is no denying country music has more than its fair share of
lovin’, hurtin’ and leavin’ songs. You know the type. The
rain drizzles at the lonely and shadowed end of town, as the
single Bud sign flickers noisily against the falling specks.
The sound of a lone dog in the back of the pick-up howls for
a last time as the silhouetted cowboy heads, alone and
lonely, to who knows where.
We’ve all heard it before.
Too many times.
But if you’re tired, bored and
worn with predictable, somber and clichéd country, there is
hope. Without the confines of major labels and the pressures
to sell a million, AND without the need to wear a styled
Stetson, many newer acts have found expression works best
when the goal you chart is your own.
Meet Mark Wayne Glasmire. His
publicity machine isn’t in overdrive when they tell us he
writes and sings with a depth of understanding that only a
dashing, well-traveled troubadour can. I’m pleased to say
it’s true. For this Arlington, Texas resident, his well-worn
path of shows and fairs, continuing with favorable nods at
major regional songwritng competitions, has honed a talent
that’s perceptive, melodic, humble and stylish.
Glasmire has a keen eye for
emotional detail, mood and location. His heart comes worn,
and proudly so, on his sleeve. When he sings of love
revealed and honest like “True Love Knows”, the opening
track on his latest album Life Goes On, the lyrics
and voice meld into an outreach that’s a little
and a lot Hal Ketchum.
The voice is pure. The sentiment real. The message
Across these 12 tracks, of which
Glasmire wrote 10, there is a fine and polished work at
play. Glasmire is sensitive and reflective; a listen to
“Missing You”, an appreciative tune for his father who
passed in 2007 shares the pain of lost opportunities to tell
a parent that not only are they valued but they are honestly
loved. That’s one of the pluses to this album – Glasmire
taps, convincingly, into the human spirit, sharing in common
and related understandings.
More reality comes in a
ponderous and confronting title track. “Life Goes On” paints
darkly the tale of a friend who decides to exit life early;
the tragedy comes wrapped in the chorus, where we learn what
we already know – despite the pain, despite the loss, life
goes on. It shows Glasmire as a perceptive writer, someone
capable of sensitive refection.
Given the global crises, the
shaky dollar, the fear of job losses and the uncertainty of
has the worst past, Glasmire nails the sentiment of hangin’
tough in the prophetic “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright”. The
tune, his latest to radio, tells of the steel mill closing
down, the impact of not paying the mortgage – and the sad
consequences of bedding down in the streets, all without
hope for a changed future. Glasmire motivates with a belief
if the family bonds and keeps the faith, all will turn out
fine. It’s a heartening message, serving as a strong
metaphor to our needed optimism.
Other standouts on the album
include “You Opened My Eyes” and the picture perfect tune
telling of love strong and dependable, “Our Love Remains”.
While Glasmire more than holds
his own here, a nod and a round of applause goes to his
studio band. The playing supports the timbre of a good voice
and the power of strong songs, making this a solid album for
It’s an album you’ll want to