Mark Newman crosses genre boundaries on ‘Must Be A Pony’

Mark Newman plays a mean slide guitar, sings his heart out and writes the kind of songs that resonate with universal longing. His ‘Must Be A Pony’ debut (Danal Music), now available, features 13 originals by Newman and some of his friends (including Sam The Sham) plus a vaguely disquieting yet profoundly effective cover version of Barry and Robin Gibb’s 1967 hit “New York Mining Disaster 1941.”

With a shifting cast of musicians—including Steve Holley (ex-Wings) on percussion and Anton Fig (David Letterman Band) on drums—Newman creates musical environments that surround his poetic lyrics in tasty soundscape vistas that accentuate but never intimidate his message, mainly that no matter how cynical the adult in one gets, the answer lies in attempting to rediscover the unbridled optimism of childhood.

Along the way, there are the twists and turns of fear (“Dead Man’s Shoes”), love (“What She Does To Me”), lust (“Wanda”), religion (“God For Sale”), awakening (“Mambo Dancing”), children (“Little One”), cynicism (“Love Won’t Ever Pass This Way Again” and “So So Cynical”), and escape (“Going Underground”). 

Newman’s the ultimate stringmaster (he picks guitar, lap steel mandolin and dobro) and his sense of soul is innate (so much so that R’n’B legend Sam Moore has him in his band).

Ultimately, though, its Newman’s world-weary late-night whiskey-soaked voice (of experience) that carries the day on ‘Must Be A Pony.’ Through it all, he maintains his lyrical hope in an against-all-odds kind of world. And, as we said, he sure plays a mean slide guitar.

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