CD Review: Ciao My Shining Star — The Songs of Mark Mulcahy

[ 0 ] September 29, 2009 |

Ciaomyshiningstar

Various Arists
Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy
Mezzotint

By Eileen Tilson

Thom Yorke described Mark
Mulcahy’s voice as the most beautiful he has ever heard, and Nick Hornby reflected that Mulcahy’s music was “only
ever going to find its audience through word of mouth and recommendations by the
like-minded.” To the average music listener the name Mark Mulcahy might ring a
bell as the guy who sang “Hey Sandy” from the TV show The Adventures of
Pete and Pete, but to musical visionaries, Mulcahy is one of the greatest
songwriters of our time, and on Ciao My Shining Star, these like-minded
musicians have banded together to take care of one their own.


Mark Mulcahy is the former frontman for New
England’s beloved Miracle Legion. He has opened for the likes of Jeff Buckley
and Oasis, and started his own record label, Mezzotint, with his wife, and love
of his life, Melissa. Last year Melissa died unexpectedly, leaving Mulcahy to
raise their twin three-year-old daughters. Unbeknown to Mulcahy, a group of
artists decided to put together a tribute album to help raise the money Mulcahy
would need to raise his family, and still make music. It wasn’t until the
project was almost complete that Mulcahy discovered what was being made in his
wife’s honor. By the time it was all said and done 40 songs had been recorded;
21 making the album, while the other 19 will be released digitally. The result
is a collection of music recreated by some of the most progressive music
visionaries of our time; Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe, Frank Black, Dinosaur Jr.
and Ben Kweller are just a few of the artists who hold Mulcahy in their highest
regards.

The
beauty in this album reaches beyond the love letter Mark writes about Melissa in
the liner notes; each musician adopts their chosen song, and makes it their
own. The album opens with Thom Yorke beautifully transforming Miracle Legion’s
“All For the Best.” With a guest appearance by his brother Andy Yorke, who
intertwines his voice with his brother’s, Thom paints the song with intricately
electronic strokes. Frank Black unleashes his trademark cry in “Bill Jacko,” and
Michael Stipe’s unmistakable voice sings like a sad lullaby on ‘Everything’s
Come Undone.” Both The National and Mercury Rev produce excellent string laden
performances, while newcomer David Berkeley’s artful voice embodies the essence
of Mulcahy’s eccentric love affair with his wife in “Love’s the Only Thing That
Shuts Me Up.”


The
entire album invites its listeners into a private world that only those creative
geniuses play in; they instinctively understand how to help those who create,
and refuse to let Mulcahy’s art die. Mark Mulcahy’s songs remind that it is
always better to have loved and lost, then to have never loved at all.

Category: CD Reviews

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