Mark Petersen is going back to his roots and his first love the blues with his new album SIDEWALK RAIN. "It takes a long time to figure out the slipperiness of it," says Mark with a sly smile; the Vancouver musician who has been polishing guitar licks and penning songs for two decades now. With his latest release, Sidewalk Rain, Mark feels he has finally tapped into a certain authenticity, a liquid quality in his music. "I felt way more comfortable and slippery writing and recording this album It's really natural."
With Sidewalk Rain, Mark has come full circle and hit a new plateau. "I went through different pathways to come back to myself," he says. SIDEWALK RAIN is stripped back to elemental instrumentation and classic sounds. Raw and raucous vocals over oily guitar, snappy skins, fat bass and woozy organ animate a set of alt-blues songs that cut to the heart of the matter.
Sleazy opener "Poker, Wine and Women", written for Brief Encounters, an interdisciplinary performance series that paired him with burlesque dancer Little Woo, is all raunch and tarty tongue-in-cheek. Lowdown meets slick in songs like "Lost My Dame" and "Bonny Lass", telling tales of cheatin' gals and unrequited love, while "Poke Me Back" exploits social-media dating lingo. "Sidewalk Rain" is a reflective walk through the "tell-tale beat" of a hard, exhilarating rain. And there's nothing greasier than blasting out the tail of the record with "Sweet 302", an ode to the sweet blue '69 Ford 302 V8 engine that powers Mark's van, "No computers! Just horses!" For the first time in his carrier Mark is also performing solo shows as well as full band lineups in support of Sidewalk Rain.
Born in Vancouver, B.C, Mark lead a typical westcoast life until he picked up his first guitar at age 18, and soon discovered the appeal of hardcore blues from the likes of Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Hollywood Fats and Eric Clapton. He spent much of his early twenties at Vancouver's legendary blues bar, The Yale, learning from and jamming with local blues gurus Jack Lavin and Tim Hearsey. Here he earned the nickname "Fatneck" for the corpulent sounds he wreaked out of his thick-necked Gibson, weighted in equal measure by his throaty vocals. "I was a scrawny white kid from Lynn Valley with a baseball-bat guitar neck," he muses. "And I belt it."