An Ear To The Earth

by Mark Moldre

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about

OUT ON LAUGHING OUTLAW RECORDS
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Over the years Mark Moldre has played music in a variety of settings. He’s suited up to sing Chet Baker styled standards in jazz quartets. He’s donned white pants and bad floral shirts to play in traditional Jamaican calypso bands. Late at night you may have caught him in purple flares and star shaped sunglasses in a variety of psychedelic 70’s funk outfits. He’s been a gun for hire in blues, indie rock and country bands.

Yet on previous occasions when the time came for starting an album he would brush all those styles under the rug in favour of writing more standard singer/songwriter type songs. “On An Ear To The Earth I hoped to make a completely different recording – a more eclectic one – I didn’t want to make any of my usual choices. This time I wanted to exit the highway and explore the lanes, alleyways and side streets of my musical history” says Moldre “I’ve always buried those sides of my past when the time came to make a record. This time I wanted to find a way to bring those elements out rather than hide them. I also decided that I would not write any songs about my feelings or myself. No heart on my sleeve stuff. No confessionals. No crying in my gin. I wanted to collaborate more. I’d fallen into musical habits. I needed to break all my unnecessary self imposed rules.”

Mark started to write – finding inspiration in a newspaper headline for the song “I Don’t Know What’s Become Of Her”. “Madeleine” was inspired by the Hitchcock movie Vertigo. “Everything I Need” was conjured after an unsettling dream. “O, Dreamtime Blues” practically spouted from his pen after finishing Paul Kelly’s brilliant autobiography. “Nowhere at All” was written after a late night session reading up on Hermann Hesse and “Where Will I Be?” evolved after watching a scene in the movie Big Fish wherein 3 boys witness their future demise in the eye of an old woman.

As the songs began to take shape – Moldre started to incorporate parts of his musical background that previously he’d pushed aside. A jump up, percussion driven calypso, a riotous Dixie romp, a late night Mexican infused jazz ballad, a couple of old fashioned holler and stomp blues tunes, even European and Country waltzes. “I needed to shake things up and I needed someone who could pull all these diverse threads into a cohesive album. I called my old childhood friend Jamie Hutchings (Bluebottle Kiss) and asked if he’d be interested in listening to my demos with the idea that he would produce. Things clicked, rehearsals began and Jamie beat the arrangements into shape with his familiar spit, grit and sandpaper approach…. and we co-wrote a couple of tunes”

Hutchings decided that the best way to capture these songs was live, with a band, – straight to 1” reel to reel tape. Not a computer in sight. So he called up engineer Chris Colquhoun and scavenged, borrowed and begged for as much gear as would fit into a couple of station wagons and set up shop in a small guest house in the beautiful beach hamlet of Avalon over a period of six days.

An Ear To The Earth is filled with dark corners, tender romance, redemption and death, human struggle versus biblical consequences, dreams and bad weather. It’s gritty and smooth, poignant whilst occasionally raucous, diverse – and yet somehow it all hangs together. It’s Moldre’s musical history across 10 varying chapters.

Find out why Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst chose Mark in his Top Ten creative Sydney-ites for the VIVID festival and was moved to say (about Moldre’s last solo album The Waiting Room): “A beautifully produced album of melancholic melodies; sad, grand, scary. 4 stars.”

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD: CD OF THE WEEK ”This is music to drink to. Not to get drunk to, but to have on while you’re gabbing with your mates, while you’re sitting watching your kids play in the shallows and maybe even while knitting in the lodge. There’s a loose, almost ramshackle element to it, as if you’ve popped around the back to find a pick-up band rattling through some old country/folk/blues numbers for fun. Imagine a less garrulous and noisy Tom Waits (for example the New orleans brass and clarinet in Everything I Need Is Here) a late-night Ryan Adams (the droopy eyed Dreamtime Blues) and a kind of Sydney Willie Nelson (I Don’t Know What’s Become Of Her) and you’ll have a sense of the relaxed but never actually soft atmosphere here.” Bernard Zuel

"Mark Moldre’s second album has you thinking he could be an Aussie version of Tom Waits. But he’s a sweeter singer." ★ ★ ★ ★ STACK MAGAZINE

"Moldre, a gifted lyricist and melody-maker, manages to piece together different styles, both coherently and beautifully" ★ ★ ★ ★ ALT MEDIA GROUP

"An Ear To The Earth is exactly what you want from an artist – a record that shows they’re stretching themselves, expanding their art and reverentially experimenting with the great art of songwriting." DRUM MEDIA

MESS AND NOISE: “Quixotic and genre defying”

THEMUSIC.COM.AU: “Stepping way out of his comfort zone, singer-songwriter Mark Moldre delivers an album Nick Cave would be proud of” Michael Smith

INPRESS: “An Ear To The Earth is one of 2013′s tastiest trips, taking the listener on a rollicking, rootsy journey. One minute, it rumbles; the next, it’s gentle and poignant.”

TIME OFF: “His 2010 solo debut The Waiting Room earned serious plaudits, and after a lengthy gestation period his new follow-up, An Ear To The Earth, has already proved a more-than-worthy successor. Possessing a vastly different tone to it’s predecessor, the album’s folk-tinged indie stylings are characterised by watertight songwriting, deft imagery and imaginative arrangements, and it has a far coarser feel overall than his previous fare” Steve Bell

www.markmoldre.com
www.facebook.com/markmoldreofficial

credits

released May 28, 2013

Produced by Jamie Hutchings
Engineered by Chris Colquhoun
Mixed by Chris Colquhoun and Jamie Hutchings

This long player was recorded direct to reel-to-reel tape, live – the old fashioned way – at a small guesthouse at Avalon. (Thanks to the Mort family for the use of their space). Tape transfer was accomplished at Linear Recording.

The Players:
Mark Moldre: Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Nylon String Guitar, Banjo, Melodica, Stomps, Claps
Jamie Hutchings: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Stomps, Claps
Scott Hutchings: Drums, Percussion, Stomps, Group Vocals, Claps
Reuben Wills: Double Bass, Group Vocals, Musical Saw, Stomps, Claps
Adam Lang: Banjo, Lap Slide, Pedal Steel, Stomps, Claps
Lee Hutchings: Clarinet
Jochen Gutsch: Trumpet
Gregory Bennett: Tuba, Trombone

All songs written by Mark Moldre except
I Don’t Know What’s Become Of Her (Moldre/J. Hutchings)
Arrangement assistance by Jamie Hutchings

Artwork and layout by Brett Curzon
Mastered by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering, Phoenix AZ USA

Massive thanks to the following, without whom none of this would have been possible: Jo, Bronte, Chet & Billie for letting me off the leash, Mum and Dad, Lee and Aunty Fran for the rehearsal space, Chris C and Jamie for going the extra mile, Stuart Coupe, Macron Music and the lads, the Mort family, Shane Pex + Brad Baldock + Dave Dalton for the loaners, Brett Curzon for all your art assistance over the years, Swart Amps, The Guitar Repairers, timEbandit Powles and Michael Carpenter for unwavering faith/support /love. Reuben, Adam, Scott, Lee, Jochen and Gregory for dropping whatever they were doing and picking up their instruments.

www.markmoldre.com

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Mark Moldre Sydney, Australia

From the ashes of Hitchcock's Regret, Mark Moldre recorded his first solo album The Waiting Room. Midnight Oil's, Rob Hirst, had this to say: “A beautifully produced album of melancholic melodies; sad, grand, scary. The Waiting Room is a collection of songs handcrafted by a musician who's lived a lot, seen much, and has written it all down,for his own benefit, and ours. One to keep. 4 stars" ... more

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Track Name: Everything I Need
Everything I Need
The break of dawn
The curtains drawn
I hear you breathing low
A dog over the hill and a train far away
Everything I Need Is Here
A fire burns
The waiting birds
The smoke it fills the room
The echo of your voice through the kitchen walls
Everything I Need Is Here
Everything I Need Is Here
I’ve made my bed of roses
What I need is here
Everything I Need, Everything I Need Is Here
A crimson flood
A splash of blood
Flames whisper as you sleep
Vanish In the embers as the sky congeals to black
Everything I Need Is Here
Oh won’t you rock me gently as I sleep tonight
Everything I Need Is Here
Track Name: Nowhere At All
Nowhere At All

A man he went a-wandering to avoid all the war mongering
And settled in the east of Italy
After all his travelling his life it was unravelling
“You’ve no idea what the road has done to me”
“Ah well I’m gonna cross the border, I’m not afraid of breaking orders
Your boundary lines they mean nothing at all
And this wind is full of promise
It’ll blow away the jaundiced
Cynicism filling up my soul”

Home Is Within You
Home Is Within You
Home Is Within You or Nowhere At All

And in his face well she could see a melancholic history
From every wrinkle there could spring a song
She called him sleepwalker;
She said, “You live life like a sleepwalker”
He said “Hey I wasn’t sleeping I was burying my feelings
And the wind well it just blew me along
Yes the wind is full of promise
It can blow away the jaundiced dreams that I have carried for so long”
And yes I will go wherever the wind may blow me
And I will sleep wherever I rest my head
And it don’t matter if there are no walls around you
And there are clichés all over the world
Because they’re true
But the darkness it can follow you, overtake and swallow you
And the wind can blow my ashes in the air
I bottle up my ghosts in here
I’m holding all my secrets near
And writing all the words that I can’t share
Track Name: Madeleine
Madeleine

I’ll follow her again tonight, and vanish as she sinks into the sea
Shadows green neon lights, dance before my eyes as if to fool me
She’ll become my mockingbird; she’ll become the one I once attained
Muffled conversations I once heard, whisper softly in my ears again
And she wanders
God knows where she’s been
If I could change the colour of your hair
And softly kiss your lips beneath the bell tower
And I’m set adrift as you climb the stairs
But my words are lost in the wind and the bells
And she wanders
Angels watch as she wanders
And she travels
God knows where she’s been
If this barren kiss is your final gift
You cut the ropes and I’m all at sea
I’m trapped here in my restlessness
And frightened by my strange troubled romance
She’s lost among the graves and I’m alone
She’s lost among the graves and I’m alone
Track Name: Where Will I Be?
Where Will I Be?

The sky opened up it was iron clad black
I thought I heard a voice in the thunderclap
The voice said “Son what have you done
To prove yourself a righteous one?”
I buried my face in the ash and the dust
It’s too late for that if your hearts turned to rust
You gotta shovel the earth and dig your hole
You gotta shovel the earth and dig your hole
I said “Where Will I Be?” “Down in the dirt by the bottlebrush tree”
I said “Where Will I Be? When the time comes
When the time comes, when the time comes”
Well there’s a road that’s narrow, a road that’s wide
We’re on a dusty trail ‘tween the great divide
And as he scrubbed my name out from his book
The ground and the leaves and the trees all shook
I gotta shovel the earth and dig my hole
I gotta shovel the earth and dig my hole
I said “Where Will I Be?” “Down In the dirt by the ironbark tree”
I said “Where Will I Be?” “From dust you became and dust you will be”
I said “Where Will I Be? When the time comes
When the time comes, when the time comes”
O, roll my bones, deflate my lungs
Steal my breath and the songs we’ve sung
Heaven above and heaven below
I’ve paid my ticket to the picture show
Heat will cool and bleach bones white
Credits roll as day becomes night
I’m gonna write my sins upon the air
And watch them dissolve
And watch them dissolve
I said “Where Will I Be?” “Down In the dirt by the old gum tree”
I said “Where Will I Be?” “From dust you became and dust you will be”
I said “Where Will I Be? When the time comes
When the time comes, When the time comes”
Track Name: I Don't Know What's Become Of Her
I Don’t Know What’s Become Of Her

I don’t know what’s become of her
She left a trail of sugar cubes
Between the thieves and the prostitutes
So she could find her way home
She caught glimpses of the Opera House
From tired shopping malls and roundabouts
You can know where you are and still be lost
Hugging ghosts upon the road
Time rode on,
She stopped believing
Until proved wrong
She said ‘I’m tired and I don’t want to start
To salvage what’s left of this broken heart
Even the devil was once beautiful
Full of topaz, jade and light
But when you take the punches as they come,
So you dance the dance and strum the strum
Fake it ‘til you make it and you then become
Somebody they despise
Queued around the block
Behind the nightclub
She’d hear the tick tock
Somebody said that she had asked for it
Though no one cared enough to recollect
Just who it was that she was talking to
When she was swallowed by the night
And one young girl said she turned around
And saw her drivers license on the ground
There was a hole where her face had been
Beneath the coca cola sign
Track Name: Killer Anxiety
Killer Anxiety

Somebody switch my mind off
Somebody make it stop
Stick your hand inside my brain
And turn the sucker off
Tell me I’m not dying
Or remind me I’m not dead
Help me find my happy place
Inside my spinning head

I’ve got killer anxiety
I’ve got killer anxiety

Somebody slow the panic
Somebody halt the fears
Tell me all my phobias
Are in between my ears
Somebody slow my breathing
And grab a paper bag
Somebody call a doctor
Before my two knees sag
And if you wanna know me
Just sit in on my therapy
And if you wanna know me
Just sit in on my therapy
Tell me I’m not dying
Or remind me I’m not dead
Help me find my happy place
Inside my spinning head
Somebody start the party
Somebody light the fuse
Somebody find my pillbox
I’ve got nothing left to lose
Track Name: Last Card
Last Card

I’ll meet you in the reeds by the river and there I will lay down
To stare up at the cold night sky and we’ll listen to the hum of the tide
I’ll call your name out with the sirens, I’ll lure you from your front yard
But as I stare into my hands my dear I realise I’m playing my last card
We carve our names beneath the boathouse window
I couldn’t tell you who half these people are
Sometimes love can disappear like dust
But we’re all lit up beneath the same dim winter star
You wear the silver mist like an evening gown
The withered trees are all standing guard
And as you stare into your hands my dear
You realise you’re playing your last card
I pick the seven of hearts but it’s too late to start
Your feet are all tangled in weeds
Now as we drift slowly out to the horizon,
While all that we have treasured we abandon and discard
And as we stare into our weathered hands my dear
We realise we’re playing our last card
Yeah we realise we’re playing our last card
Yeah we realise we’re playing our last card
Track Name: Four Winds
Four Winds

I’m holding back the four winds
And my arms are getting tired
I’m holding back the four winds
It’s been windy round these parts for quite a while
I’m climbing Jacob’s Ladder
And I’m itching for a fight
I’m climbing Jacob’s Ladder
And rung-by-rung I’m slipping through the night
But there’s wheels within wheels spinning in my mind
As all these restless passengers are thrown over the side
Wheels within wheels and I’m trying to hitch a ride
But the storm never stops and the wind never drops
I’m swimming in the Red Sea
Walls of water either side
I’m swimming in the Red Sea
Take me as the ocean opens wide
Threads that hold us together
These stitches are starting to fray
Threads that hold us together
Blow wind, blow these threads away
Blow wind, blow away, blow until my dreams all come undone
Ill wind blow away, sing to me the songs that we have sung
Track Name: Bone Orchard
Bone Orchard

I’m going down to the Bone Orchard
At the edge of town there’s a Bone Orchard
I’m going down to the Bone Orchard
Gonna lay my body down

I got down on my knees last night
And hollered up to the night sky
I waited there for a reply
But the voices were all in my head

I whisper secrets to the air
My words are smoke they’re everywhere
The lake is burning fire tonight
And the river is taking me home

I walked up to Sovereign Hill
I bought some liquor I paid my bill
I dropped a preparation in my gin
That’s the last thing I recall

This is no town for tired old men
Dreams of love haunt me again
Leave sleeping dogs just where they lie
When you wake I will be gone
Track Name: O, Dreamtime Blues
O, Dreamtime Blues

Like children in a fable we head off down the road
You with your dreamtime blues and me with my heavy load
We prayed this wind would take us and blow these weeds to dust
Limbless gumtrees seem to follow us; apparition in the dusk

And these maps are filled with murder and the crops are full of bones
Tangled in Lantana we’re just trying to find….

We tie our shoes with wire as we hitchhike to the coast
Through brambles and dead lilac as you whisper to your ghosts
And this heat could boil a billy right here on the bonnet of this car
So we drink a little coffee and sleep beneath the stars
I whispered ‘cross the lantern “Your reins have tightened round my heart”
I said “Baby am I dreaming?”
Then bullets fell like stars
The rain it woke my slumber still we lay and listened to the birds
Memories in embers shrivel and disappear as they burn
“Josey, can you hear that? The magpies called our names”
Douse the forest fire with teaspoons watch our history in the flames
The moon it overtook me, left its image in the air
The night sky just engulfs you here; smell of eucalyptus in your hair
You know I’ll still be waiting here long after you’ve gone
We’re so tied up together these threads just will not come undone