Mark Brine,
I'm Not Anyone:
The Nashville Sessions

(Door Knob, 2005)

Mark Brine is a temporal aberration. There's a healthy corps of folk and country singers who have their roots in the 1960s folk scene. Brine has his origins in that era -- but unlike most, he never left it.

Most of a half century has passed since Brine began playing, and his music has stayed rooted in that old-time country sound. I'm Not Anyone: The Nashville Sessions feels like an album discovered in some precious archive -- lost country is a place as well as a sound.

In the grand tradition of country songs, Brine's songs are about the unchanging essentials of life: love, loyalty, faith and home. He focuses on the less explored edges of those verities. So "Hello Lady" delivers the cold comfort of love without romance. "I'm Not Anyone" and "It's Me" let love be spoken without being requited. "Lord Sellin' Preacher" is a character study in a man with a faith so lost he doesn't even remember the shape of it.

I'm Not Anyone is about more than disappointment. "Words" and "Comin' Home to Love" are unashamed celebrations of love. "Why Can't We Live Together" is a tongue-in-cheek story of a relationship that only works under unusual conditions.

Many of the songs here are indeed old favorites, but many are new, and Brine may yet come out with more. Brine's sound is emphatically nothing new, but so devoted to the old Opry tradition it may sound strange to fans of modern country and folk. His voice is somewhat unsteady, never reaching for high far notes or trying to sink especially deep. His guitar work is purely in service of the song, with no embellishments. His music is always graceful, a testament to the country music tradition and the people who created it. I'm Not Anyone is never fancy, always familiar and always friendly to the ear.

by Sarah Meador
17 June 2006

[ visit the artist's website ]