Divide and Conquer Music Review June 2018



Mark Gothard

Cherrylee Sessions
self-released; 2018

3.8 out of 5

By Tina Romano

Mark Gothard is an award winning accomplished musician who has penned over 300 songs. Gothard returns with his seventh LP Cherrylee Sessions, a full-length album comprised of 14 songs. The album is entitled after the street in Yorba Linda, CA where Gothard recorded the album in an empty abode. Gothard played varsity tennis in college. Once introduced to the guitar and after learning a few basic chords, Gothard decided to go the musical route and trade in his racket for a six-string acoustic guitar to critical acclaim.

Gothard employs a John Prine style of storytelling in his writing. He crafts lyrics for the everyman and everywoman. He speaks to those caught in dead-end jobs, in love with their Jameson just a little too much. He, like Prine, finds the humor in the mundane. Some artists rely on wallowing in the B movie that is their life. Gothard tells stories of people just keep on keepin’ on. “She is trying on those pants / In the Thrift Store catching people’s eyes.”

“Get Next to you” again shows how he writes about relationship’s common issues and regular pitfalls. “I used to have dreams before / Now you have opened up the door” the widespread theme of trying to get through his gal’s Dad to get next to her.

“Blood Moon” speaks of “Whiskey Stained Truths and naugahyde Boots.” This track possesses a “porch song’ feel aka a good song to listen to while hanging out on a porch in the summertime drinking a beer with a Whiskey chaser.

There is a discernible Tom Waits feel to his voice in “Lovesick.” He draws out the lyrics “Love sick / sick of love.” The song relies on a fair amount of finger picking which works with his lyrics. Gothard uses his guitar as the supporting actors in his songs. You can feel his love of playing on “Skies Painted Blue,” another love song about his baby. He did get married in between albums. He said this “changed him.”

His work has garnered him respect and awards. Last February, his song “It’s Alright”, a bluesy parody was nominated for Hollywood Music in Media Award in the Blues Category.

Overall CherryLee Sessions was an impressive album that showcased his exceptional songwriting abilities. I looking forward to hearing more of his work. Recommended.

Mark Gothard