Artist Information Biography Perhaps it takes an imaginary small town to shed light on an imaginary America reeling in myth over reality. Well, welcome back Mars Arizona, the folksy but feisty duo blasting off from a fictional town somewhere in the Southwest into contemporary American reality with their latest release ? Hello Cruel World. Firing poetic slings and arrows at a world gone mad, Hello Cruel World peers at our modern landscape with wit, hard driving energy and a wise nod of the head at a seemingly unjust world.
Perhaps it takes an imaginary small town to shed light on an imaginary America reeling in myth over reality. Well, welcome back Mars Arizona, the folksy but feisty duo blasting off from a fictional town somewhere in the Southwest into contemporary American reality with their latest release ? Hello Cruel World. Firing poetic slings and arrows at a world gone mad, Hello Cruel World peers at our modern landscape with wit, hard driving energy and a wise nod of the head at a seemingly unjust world.
This is the third release from Mars Arizona on Big Barn Records distributed by Burnside Distribution. Their 2005 effort, All Over The Road garnered them rave reviews from many publications including Harp, Stomp and Stammer, Performing Songwriter, and Nashville Scene and a feature in No Depression. The record was also well-received by Americana radio and peaked at #41 on the AMA radio charts. A U.S. tour that year took them from San Francisco to New York via Nashville, where they made many friends and fans.
Great art is defined and framed by the artists' interaction with and reflection on the immediate and wider world they inhabit. Mars Arizona's Nicole Storto and Paul Michael Knowles have checked out both their local and global spheres and have created a tenacious album of beauty, tragedy, trauma and energetic urgency with this new offering. Their vibrations resonate with a country bluegrass mournfulness that evokes a stock take of the mess the shopping mall world is in. Storto and Knowles have climbed the holy mountain to camp out and hang in the global village, taken notes and translated what they touched, tasted, saw, felt, smelt and understood by it all.
For this adventure, they have gathered some of the finest musicians to marinade into a matchless and transcendent record. The majority of the album was recorded at Moondog Studio in Nashville, (big thanks to Billy Block) by Tim Coats. The remainder of the recording took place at Icehouse Studio in San Rafael, CA; Hilltop Studio in Mill Valley, CA; and BIAS studio in Petaluma, CA.
David "Dawg" Grisman makes sparks fly from his mandolin on the opening track "Dirty Town," resplendent in its identification of the wayward coping mechanisms of small town barfly alcoholics. His son Sam Grisman pushes the tune into the red line with his thundering upright bass. The genius of Al Perkins on pedal steel haunts "Circus," a tune that shakes its head in disbelief at the freak show fairground bazaar that America's politicians have constantly toured the highways of humanity with. Or so it seems. Storto sets off on her own with "Good To Be Lucky" ? her crisp and world-wise vocals taking inspiration from Mark Twain's famous words: "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over." Storto's voice hauntingly reminds us that the huge gulf between those privileged few and the masses below might just owe a thing or two to luck. Neil Young's "Time Fades Away", T Rex's "By the Light of the Magical Moon" and Loretta Lynn's "Blue Kentucky Girl" are put through the Mars Arizona sweet and sour smoothie maker. Paul and Nicole know their musical history books and these inspired covers glide, grate and grind in all the right places. The trauma of death and loss speaks softly and poignantly on "Wait For The River." "Landscape (for NOLA)" highlights Mars Arizona's creative compassion with a tune based on Paul's father's first hand observation of the devastation in New Orleans, after Katrina. This haunting original, complemented by Perkins' pedal steel, brings it all down to the personal.
Other musicians that drive the tunes, sprinkle it with their deft touches and keep the rattle and twang addictive include Alisa Rose on fiddle/violin, Andon Davis on Bass/mando/guitars and D.B. Walker on guitars. Billy Block plays drums on most of the tracks, with Cory St?ck taking the sticks on two tracks. Nicole Storto's vocals fill the album with an ardent passion and a luminous throat chakra. Paul Knowles throws 6 and 12 string guitar, bass, harmonium, wah guitar and piano into the mix as well.
"Complacency equals death, man!" said the prophetic and poetic Paul Knowles recently. Hello Cruel World shows off a visionary Mars Arizona combining the personal and the political in a musically exciting look at our haywire world. Ignore its country driven, bluegrass fueled, and folk music footprint at your peril.
For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul @ BigBarn Records : 415-465-0449
Publicity: Michelle Roche - 706-353-3244
Radio Promo: Al Moss http://www.almosspromotion.com
Nicole Storto: Vocals, Guitar
Paul Knowles: Vocals, Guitars, Slide Guitar, Piano, B-3
David Grisman: Mandolin
Sam Grisman: Bass
Al Perkins: Pedal Steel, lap steel, dobro, kona
Billy Block: Drums
Alisa Rose: Fiddle
D.B. Walker: Guitars
Andon Davis: Guitars, Bass
2002 - Love Songs from the Apocalypse
2005 - All Over The Road
2008 - Hello Cruel World