Lovesongs: An Early Meditation on Love and Alienation in the Modern Era
Read an interview-based review by Ana Mullinix here.
“Whatever else can be said about Lovesongs, it must be noted that these are not your typical love songs. Mark Hetzel’s new album is a compendium of heart-felt compositions, a brew of soothing yet haunting lyrics and superb instrumentation…Interspersed throughout the album are recordings of the sounds of nature – birds chirping, gently-flowing waters – and the sounds of civilization – traffic noise, church bells tolling…Overall, Lovesongs is a finely crafted work of art that reflects well on the artists who created it.” – Johnny Ray, Art Aficionado
We are what we are
based on what we have seen and heard
and how it has invaded us or set us free
Lovesongs began as a way to get out all of the songs that were filling up my head. I didn’t know what else to do with them and I wanted to make room for more. It turned into a lengthy and challenging project that inspired me to look at the world around me in a new way – through sound.
After I began recording, I realized quickly that I wanted this album to be more than just a collection of solo acoustic songs. I didn’t have to look far for inspiration on how to proceed.
Something you will notice from the very start is the interweaving of sounds from city and country. It might speak to something I have always felt – torn between the draw of Nature, space, and the peace that the rural experience most often brings me and that of the urban experience, full of life and potential, diversity and flux, certainly not without its conflict but exciting and inspiring nonetheless. At some point I realized that this tension played a large role in most of my earliest songs, those included in Lovesongs. I further realized, that although this experience was my own, it was not just mine. Far from it. As more people are now living in cities than in rural areas for the first time in human history, it seems more important than ever to contemplate how urbanization is affecting us. The themes that came forward for me, as indicated in the album’s subtitle, were love and alienation. Two reactions to the state we are in, and perhaps two approaches to dealing with it…
My biggest thanks go to the many musicians – my friends and family – who contributed their time and gifted musicianship to the project: Antonio, Kurt, Omoladun, Chris, Brian, Ernest, Celeste, Uncle Spike, Scott, Gonny, Breah, Casey, Mikayla, Paul, Peter, and Kevin. As I’ve said before, the parts they come up with were perfect – I could not have asked for more. It was an amazing experience for me to watch how the songs/album developed as each person put a bit of themself into it…something akin to sculpting or carving – working with the grain of a raw form and slowly refining it as greater character and definition was brought to each piece, in this case as each layer was added. Like watching life breathed into an inanimate creature – I look forward to witnessing it again. Seriously.
Some of your comments about Lovesongs:
“All flows perfect!”
“Magic and beautiful.”
“I can’t stop listening.”
“It’s like being in a movie.”
“When’s the next show? I want to see this live.”
“Really I can’t say enough. Beautiful! Excellent!!!”
“Congrats! Can’t wait to see you on tour in Tacoma!”
“Listening to your music is like going to therapy, man.”
“I know it was a long time in the making. Definitely worth it!”
“We listened to your CD on the way home. So beautiful. Perfect road trip music.”
“David Gray, Joshua Radin, Jack Johnson – all rolled up in one! Love it Mark. Congrats!”
“There is a wonderful juxtaposition of nature and city, human and machine, peace and chaos.”
“How can I get this in South Africa? Chewing up bandwidth listening to the tracks over & over.”
“We decided to skip the tollway and only take back-roads. This means seeing lots of farmlands and old roadhouse bars along the county highways. It was the perfect music for a pretty Easter Sunday with barns and endless fields; we even saw a family daring a spring swim in their above-ground pool. And the joyful and melancholy music playing was just great. The song ‘Island’ popped up and I told my g/f about the glowing frog puppets and getting bonked on the head by a neon astronaut. It made it a really nice drive home. So thank you for that.”
Concept, songs, lyrics, field recordings, and photography by Mark Hetzel.
Perchance, Lakeside, and Resolve contain excerpts from a guitar improvisation by Antonio Carella. Timewarp transition after Was – composed by Kurt Festge, contains performances by Omoladun Tyehimba. Music production and artwork layout by Kurt Festge and Mark Hetzel. Recorded, mixed, and sequenced by Kurt Festge – Alloy Sound, Chicago. Mastered by Collin Jordan – The Boiler Room, Chicago.
In loving memory of Michael Wray, Mildred Viator, and Phillip Viator.
Happy trails and ONLY LOVE!