Sideshow Alley

Sideshow AlleyTrack list:

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01 Kalgoorlie Girl
02 That’s the World Goes Round
03 Never Again
04 Eddie Gilbert’s Dream
05 I Don’t Think You care Anymore
06 Sideshow Alley
07 Cold Heart
08 Man in the Moon
09 Carrigan’s Ceilidh Band
10 The Long Ride Home
11 Waiting for the Ice to Thaw
12 Ordinary Man
13 The Paddy’s Day Bash
14 Angelina

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“The second solo album from immensely talented Brisbane singer/songwriter Mark Cryle is a real gem. It brings together mark’s passion for history with his ability to craft a powerful, captivating song. The result is a swag of memorable stories, emotional journeys and touching moments that lift the spirit and challenge the mind. Some of the album’s finest moments include the catchy Kalgoorlie Girl (with a twist in the tail), Mark’s tribute to indigenous cricketer Eddie Gilbert, and the evocative Sideshow Alley, about the Brisbane Exhibition. There’s a Celtic touch on tracks like Carrigan’s Ceilidh Band and the thought-provoking The Paddy’s Day Bash – based on a real event. Mark captures some tender moments on the poignant Angelina and perceptions about the nature of love on Cold Heart, Man In the Moon and I also loved the sentiments of Ordinary Man and the powerful tale of Never Again. Every one of the 14 tracks on Sideshow Alley is a masterpiece, and Mark has well and truly established himself as one of Australia’s finest songwriters.”
“I am about to make a big statement… Mark Cryle is one of Australia’s finest storytellers! Just pick up his latest album Sideshow Alley to confirm this for yourself. Like Graeme Connors, Mark has the ability to paint large mental images with just a few well-placed words. His songs are more appealing because they portray everyday goings-on …sometimes presenting the ridiculous, sometimes exposing the sad, but always from an unpretentious perspective. These wonderful stories are contained in songs such as the poignant ‘Eddie Gilbert’s Dream’, the title track about the Brisbane Ekka, ‘Sideshow Alley’ or the song of the working girls of the west, ‘Kalgoorlie Girl’. Our Irish heritage is recognised with the delightful ‘Carrigan’s Ceilidh Band’, however ‘the Paddy’s Day Bash’ is a spoken word account of the violent 1948 Brisbane unionists march in protest of an anti-strike legislation. The final track, while being sad, is actually a tale of hope. Because this is such an exemplary album it is worth mentioning (with pride) that the album was recorded in Brisbane and is a co-production by Mark Cryle, Michael Fix and Richard Evans.”
Mark Cryle, an accomplished Australian singer/songwriter who also plays guitar, bass and mandolin, achieved great success with his 2009 album House of Cards which was crowned “CD of the Year” by Folk Alliance Australia.
On his beautifully produced fourteen-track follow-up album Sideshow Alley, Cryle incorporates elements of country, folk and blues to create an earthy yet richly textured listening experience.
Harnessing powerful wordplay and evocative instrumentation, Cryle achieves a visceral poignancy on thought-provoking tracks such as Eddie Gilbert’s Dream the The Paddy’s Day Bash.
Cryle employs his deft songwriting skills on Kalgoorlie Girl to expertly toy with the listener’s expectations about where the tale is heading.
Initially, the narrator appears to yearn for the love of his life: “Every night I dream about my Bonnie/I know she really wants me…” We infer from this adoring tone that these sentiments are romantic and that they are reciprocated: “I know she’ll be waiting for me/Just like she assured me…” In the closing scene, however, we discover that the narrator is detached from the romantic ideal, resigned as he is to the reality of trading dollars and cents for lust and a fleeting physical connection.
The absent Bonnie is ‘pleased to know ya” as long as “you got cash” while the narrator is like a shopper willing to snap up a new product when his favoured trinket is out of stock” :If she’s gone, I don’t really bother/’Cos I can get another Kalgoorlie Girl.” Such clever songwriting, marked with unexpected twists and turns, imbues the album with a subtle and imaginative depth that complements the seductive melodies woven by Cryle and his impressive cast of guest musicians.
Sideshow Alley, populated with believable characters and alive with memorable music, will entice you to visit time and time again.
“Mark Cryle’s CDs just keep getting better. His latest CD Sideshow Alley is another listeners’ treat, showcasing both his wonderful talent for songwriting, varied and interesting arrangements, and flawless performances from Mark and fellow musicians Richard Evans, Cathy Bell, Andrew Heath, Michael Fix, Doug Gallacher, Silas Palmer, Sue Hibbs, Joe Cryle, John Holmberg, Kevin Higgins and Helen McCreevy. Once again, Michael Fix has produced a CD of stunning acoustic quality – close your eyes and you could believe it was a live performance, up close. Helen McCreevy’s vocals blend particularly well. These friends know how to bring a little magic into Mark’s beautifully written songs.
The graphics on the cover and booklet evoke long forgotten happy childhood memories of those sights, sounds, smells and the excitement of Brisbane’s old “Ekka” – a big event on the year’s calendar. The title track is a gorgeous song; Sideshow Alley will elicit your own nostalgic memories (you’re bound to have some) and bring some vicarious joy to your heart. And that’s part of the magic of Mark’s songs – heart, but with some humour and a wiser perspective than a younger songwriter might have.
Mark’s songs cover a broad range of topics and moods, from beautiful songs of love, heartbreak, humour, and whimsy to politics and history. Like his previous CD House of Cards, this one keeps you listening and tapping along to a variety of tempos and rhythms and keys, to match the mood of each song. Mark manages to colour his lyrics so that just a word or a detail can hook into your own emotions and memories, giving these songs their own personal meaning for each listener. However, it’s by no means navel gazing or self indulgent. The first track may trick you into initially thinking it’s just going to be one of those nice – slightly schmaltzy – Paul Kelly type songs about seeing your girl on Saturday night after working hard all week. But no, this is a Mark Cryle song that will come around and bite you at the end.
All the tracks are good and all are quite different, although I do have one or two (or three or five) favourites. In particular, I just love the song Waiting for the Ice to Thaw – in my opinion, it’s worth buying the CD for this track alone. You can’t possibly hear it without wanting to move to its funky groove, and it’s guaranteed to put a big smile on your face.”