Mark Ceaser – The Strange Case of…
On the Canadian prairie, there is a contrast that many don’t acknowledge consciously, yet it’s always there, like two halves of your awareness. It’s the juxtaposition of the land and the sky, a perfect 50/50 in your perception. One half are the deep blue heavens, which go on forever, and the other half is the flat ground, which stretches as far as the eye can see; on the prairie, some folks joke that you can watch a dog run away for days.
Western Canadian singer/songwriter Mark Ceaser has crafted a new album full of these contrasts, a folk/rock/roots effort aptly called, The Strange Case of…. It’s no accident that the title references the duality of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. The songs reflect the light and dark of the human experience, these conflicting emotions that live at the event horizon between land and sky.
On The Strange Case of… Mark Ceaser explores these emotions, utilizing the lyrics of a born storyteller, capturing themes that range from the child-like, ‘nothing-can-go-wrong’ naïveté of falling in love, to the grim horrors of addiction and depression. The songs range from funny, light-hearted, toe-tapping acoustic pop to songs that are softly whispered secrets, and even tracks that let loose the devil to cut to the dark heart of things.
Ceaser started his music career in the duo, Sexually Attracted to Fire, but The Strange Case of… is his 1st full-length solo effort (following his Burma Road EP). Both solo efforts were produced by Ross Nykiforuk (The Northern Pikes, The Deep Dark Woods). When he’s not playing music, Mark Ceaser is an economist and a home care support worker. In fact, he tested much of this new material for people with intellectual disabilities, the most honest audience imaginable, gauging whether or not he was on the right track with any given song. The result is a mature effort that strips away any superfluous fat and leaves you with down home, honest songwriting.
No matter where you come from, no matter who you are, you’ll feel right at home in the divergent space between the prairie land and sky, and in this imaginative album about the ups and downs of modern life.
“Offering more than the average coffee shop singer/songwriter, Ceaser’s new album is a quirkier affair; I hear hints of everything from Nick Cave to REM. It’s idiosyncratic, but still highly accessible, with just enough character and weirdness to make it interesting, but not so much that it goes overboard.” -Craig Silliphant (Planet S Magazine, Polaris Music Prize Juror)
released October 29, 2011
All words and music by Mark Ceaser
Except Jekyll and Hide, words by Mark Ceaser and Farideh
Produced, engineered and mixed by Ross Nykiforuk at glennross studios
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering in Boston, MA
Assistant Mastering by Maria Rice
Original artwork by Greer Tilford
Album design and layout by Derek Bachman
All songs (c) & (p) 2011 Mark Ceaser (SOCAN)
all rights reserved