Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Mark Bryan “Songs of the Fortnight”

Singer-songwriter Mark Bryan may never be as famous on his own as he had been when he had been part of a band. You see, Bryan was a founding member of a small band called…Hootie and the Blowfish. He and Darius Rucker were the two musicians who started the musical outfit. Together, Hootie and the Blowfish ended up creating the album that earned the biggest amount of album sales in 1995 with the release Cracked Rear View.

When the band went its separate ways and Darius Rucker changed directions and goals to enter the world of Country music, Mark Bryan also went for a solo career. But he chose to stay within the Pop-Rock genre that earned his former band its following. Since the band separated Bryan has released three solo albums, having just released the third just recently. The new release from Mark Bryan is entitled Songs of the Fortnight.

Songs of the Fortnight from Mark Bryan begins with easily the hardest-rockin’ track of the album, “My Baby She’s Alright”. The track’s Rock and Roll sound could have been from either the late eighties or early nineties. There’s a reason for that: The track was originally recorded back in 1987 by the band Scruffy the Cat. The straight-out Rock and Roll featured on Bryan’s version of the track feels very timeless and very out of place when compared to anything that was found on the Cracked Rear View release from Hootie and the Blowfish. “My Baby She’s Alright” starts the newest release from Mark Bryan off with plenty of energy.

With the second track on his newest release, Mark Bryan takes his music in a direction that would be more in the realm of what his old band would have created. The song “If You Saw Her” is pure pop-rock that easily could be the best track on the release. “If You Saw Her” features a gentle, easy pace to the music and contains a strong message about spending time with a woman because of how special she is. The track features a sound that would easily fit into any Hot Adult Contemporary radio format. “If You Saw Her” is a track that will stay with you long after the album has come to an end.

Mark Bryan picks up the pace of the music, but just barely, on the next track entitled “Almost Loved Me”. Staying with a Hot Adult Contemporary sound, the song “Almost Loved Me” features a sound that would have fit right in alongside songs from other Hot A/C bands such as Gin Blossoms or Goo Goo Dolls. And like songs from those bands, “Almost Loved Me” would have been in heavy rotation on radio stations back in the nineties.

Another great track on the newest release from Mark Bryan is the song “The Great Beyond”. On this track, Bryan takes the music in a very different direction. This track finds Bryan creating a track that is part rock, part folk. The Folk-Rock combination on the track comes complete with the inclusion of a mandolin and fiddle that help to reinforce the Folk flavor that is so evident on the track. The lyrics about spending time just getting lost help to make the song strong. “The Great Beyond” is much different than the rest of the album, but it one of the standout tracks on the release.

After one track of Folk-Rock, Mark Bryan’s music returns to a stronger Rock and Roll approach. The track “Forgetting About Me” contains a straightforward Rock and Roll feel to the music that once again adds a lot of energy to the release. The track finds Mark Bryan using the musical influences that helped make the song “I Go Blind” such a strong track all those years ago. Just like “My Baby She’s Alright,” the first track of the release of the album, “Forgetting About Me” shows off the more rockin’ side of the songwriter in Bryan.

Songs of the Fortnight takes on a slight Alt-Country feel on the track “Sweet Love”. The track finds Bryan sharing the track with Kathy Dempf, creating a duet, of sorts. The two singers sing a tune about finding that special someone. With the slight twang to Dempf’s vocal, the song feels right for either Top 40 OR Country music radio formats, making the track a perfect crossover candidate.

After ten tracks of music that range from Folk-flavored to Top 40, Mark Bryan closes out his newest album with the track “Maybe Then”. The singer-songwriter takes a major step back and creates a track that features only his vocal and guitar. The track plays like a love letter to someone he may have loved in the past. The simplicity of the track allows for Bryan’s voice to shine through. The softer approach of “Maybe Then” helps to bring Mark Bryan’s newest album to a close on a soft note.

While it has been a while since Hootie and the Blowfish were an everyday part of the music scene, it’s great to know that lead singer Darius Rucker is not the only one from the band that has kept busy since that band ceased to be. The new release of Songs of the Fortnight from Rucker’s ex-bandmate Mark Bryan shows off the talent of the lead guitarist/singer-songwriter. And the various different directions that Mark Bryan takes the music on the release show off his versatility.

To check out the music of Mark Bryan, check out the video to his song “If You Saw Her“.

For more information, check out Mark Bryan’s PR firm, Fanatic Records.

To purchase a copy of Songs of the Fortnight from Mark Bryan, click on the album cover below: