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The Carol and the True Folk Legend of Jack Frost ©2009

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The Carol
and the True Folk Legend of Jack Frost

Audio book complete with soundtrack available exclusively

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For the songs and music from the audio book

Mark's latest CD

The Carol Soundtrack ©2011
JACK FROST and The Carol for Kids...And the Young at Heart

"JACK FROST and The Carol for Kids...And the Young at Heart"

Mark Brine has done it again! "Jack Frost and The Carol for Kids...and the Young at Heart" is coming soon! This book is a children's adaptation of his originial work, "THE CAROL and True Folk Legend of Jack Frost". Although written for children and the young-at-heart, this book has a deep biblical message and is the missing link of history that, at last, unites the Santa Claus part of Christmas with the Bethlehem part. A must read! Pre-order your books today by visiting www.regsbooks.orgThe Carol Audio Book.

Capturing the essence and spirit of America through song would be a daunting task for any artist, but Mark Brine has made a long career of it. Over the years, Brine has won fans, critical praise and awards for his efforts in traditional American music. But as nice as that recognition is, nothing is more important to Brine than his songs and his message – the mark of a true artist.

Though a current resident of Tennessee, Brine was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the leading folk music centers in the country, and was exposed to music at an early age. He got his first taste of Hank Williams from his uncle’s record collection and later learned about rock and roll through the Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley records his aunt played for him. Both of these discoveries, along with exposure to the southern blues sounds of artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, would cement Brine’s interest in traditional American music.

While in his 20’s, Brine first heard the music of Jimmie "The Singing Brakeman" Rodgers, a discovery that would have a great impact on his path in music. Though widely referred to as the "Father of Country Music" due to his popularization of the hillbilly music form, Rodgers was revolutionary because he mixed elements of the blues, jazz and other popular music genres of the day to make a sound all his own – a style that would be copied by many artists and is prevalent today. Brine was enamored by Rodgers’ and his old time music would be the single biggest influence on Brine’s career.

Though Brine’s professional music debut came as an electric guitar player for several different rock bands in Massachusetts, he ultimately unplugged his guitar and followed down the path created by Rodgers, Williams and the other legendary figures of American music.

There's a new blue yodel
Let me sing it here for you
There's a new blue yodel
Let me sing it here for you
Jimmie Rodgers he done start it
'N I'm 'a gonna see it through

New Blue Yodel ©1995 Mark Brine Music (BMI)

Americana Music

Mark Brine’s music is derivative of a wide range of styles and influences. On a single album, a listener might come across traditional country, folk, gospel, acoustic blues or even a hint of rock music. Today’s music industry is very segmented and people are quick to place labels on artists and their music. Some might call Brine’s music traditional country, but when asked about that label he said, "My music is broad, but if they want to put me under a tent for their purposes, that’s fine with me."

When asked to describe his own sound, Brine prefers the term "Americana," but is quick to explain what he means. "When talking about my music, the term Americana is about taking the listener back to a time that no longer exists," said Brine. "One of my favorite artists is Norman Rockwell. Though some don’t agree, I consider him a true folk artist and he had an amazing ability to capture a moment in time. That’s what I’m trying to do with my music, I want to capture that moment in a song."

In our current culture, many artists are given the Americana label because they use elements of traditional music in their creative process. But in Brine’s opinion, the term is overused and is usually wrong. "I hear a lot of bands that are called Americana just because there’s a twang in their sound," added Brine. "To me, that stuff’s just rock and roll."

A true songsmith, Brine has recorded and released more than 10 albums of original material over the years. Though each album is different, they all share a deep-rooted respect for traditional American music styles and subjects, thus making Brine a true practitioner of Americana music, no matter what definition is used.

The Music

From the time of his earliest full-length releases like Return to Americana and American Pieces from the mid and late 1980’s, it was clear that Brine had a vision for his sound and he has always stayed true to his style. While his newer albums, like 2003’s for Karrie, find Brine stretching his wings with songs that have elements of honky tonk and contemporary folk music, it is clear that he is still a traditional country artist at the core.

Over the course of his recording career, Mark has put together an impressive collection of albums that showcase not only his voice and guitar work, but also his tremendous songwriting ability and his knack for musical composition and arrangement.

To fully understand Brine’s depth as a performer and as a songwriter, you need to listen to the evolution of his music. While Mark’s earlier recordings are filled with keen observation and wit, they only hint at the adept storyteller he would become.

Mark’s greatest talent is his ability to relay a story that everyone can relate to. A perfect example of this is the song "8th Grade Romance (And They Danced)." This song, from Brine’s 2003 album for Karrie, recounts the pain and anguish of young love and how hard it is to approach someone for the first time. Though a commonly told tale, Brine captures the feelings and raw emotion of that moment so well.

8th grade romance at the Friday night dance
The boys in one corner 'n the girls in the other
Then I seen her come in, in her plaid dress so trim
Angelic white blouse, her girlfriends gathered about
Petite with silk hair, all I could do was stare
At her charismatic smile, time stopped for a while
Then, the lover boys darted, even me I started
Till my shyness took hold 'n I just stood there cold
And they danced, and they danced

for Karrie ©2003 Mark Brine Music (BMI)

The poetry here isn’t deep, but it is painfully accurate and very easy to relate to. A good sampling of Brine’s work and his growth as a songwriter is found on Fortunes: The Best of Mark Brine. This 17-song collection captures some of his best material from the late 90’s to the present.

The Hall of Fame

In honor of Brine’s commitment to preserving traditional music and in recognition of his long career in the field, he was selected by the National Traditional Country Music Association’s (NTCMA) as an inductee to its America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004. With this honor, Brine takes his well-earned spot next to legends like Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and the Carter Family – the very people who inspired him into music and whose torch he proudly passes on.

To commemorate this special achievement, Brine has just released I’m Not Anyone, an album that acknowledges the start of his journey in the music business. A portion of the album’s tracks are from Brine’s run at Door Knob Records, the oldest independent record label in Nashville. He made these recordings when he joined the label in the late 70’s and some of these tracks are the very first commercial recordings Brine made as a solo artist, making this album a fitting way to celebrate his induction.

The Current State of Traditional Country Music

While Brine has received a good deal of praise and admiration for his body of work, he is relatively unknown in the world of popular music, even on a local level. This is a product of the lack of exposure traditional country music gets in America. Even with the recent overwhelming success of the soundtrack for the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" many talented artists like Brine are left to soldier-on in obscurity.

One of the most interesting things about traditional country music is how it manages to thrive in England and other parts of Europe, while practitioners of this distinctively American art form remain relatively unknown in their own country. Brine, who has released some of his music exclusively in Europe, has seen this trend in his own career, "I get a lot of airplay over there, but here I play a show and get asked to play ‘Margaritaville’ – they just don’t get what it’s all about."

When asked why this happens, Brine said, "In Europe, they don’t want America telling them what to do," said Brine. "They play the old country and the new, and they are very open and play what they like." Brine also added, "The current music industry in America is a conglomerate and they control the radio. You simply can’t compete with these labels."

But have no fear, the future for Brine and other artists like him isn’t bleak at all. As long as there are music fans seeking out good traditional country music, he will have an audience. Mark Brine’s music is filled with the kind of honesty and beauty that will never go out of style. Traditional country music is as American as apple pie and baseball, and over the years it has enjoyed its fair share of popularity and success. Brine knows that it is only a matter of time until people seek out this art form again. And when they do, he will be waiting to greet them in his Sunday-best suit with a guitar in his hand, a wide-brimmed hat on his head, a smile on his face and a seemingly-endless supply of great Americana music in his heart.

Cause the world goes 'round
'N nuthin' ever really (gonna) change
'Cause the world goes 'round
'N nuthin' ever really (gonna) change
Yeah, it’s just like one big circle
It's bound t' come around again

New Blue Yodel ©1995 Mark Brine Music (BMI)

-- Greg Yost, a native of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania and an alumnus of The Pennsylvania State University, is a regular columnist/writer for Music Monthly. He is also a frequent contributor to No Depression, Rockzillaworld and other national music publications and Web sites.

Mr. Yost, his beautiful new bride and their two guinea pigs currently reside in rural Maryland.

Mark Brine Music
PO Box 962
Westmoreland TN 37186
"I could listen to him sing all night long – he does a good job that boy does."
-- Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree

"Brine could easily have been added to the cast of 'O Brother, Where Art Thou' without raising an eyebrow. He belongs to that group of artists whose individuality and quirkiness consign them to the periphery of what's commercially viable. But God bless him for not just being another cog in the musical wheel."
-- James McSweeney,
Flyin' Shoes

"A fine young man who I think has a great future."
-- Hank Snow,
Grand Ole Opry

for Karrie ©2003
"Since migrating from Cambridge, Mass to Nashville some three decades ago, Mark Brine has carved out a strong reputation as an uncompromising traditionalist on the country music scene which has made him one of the elder statesmen of Americana."
-- Shaun Dale,
Cosmik Debris Magazine

"Brine has made a long career of flying under the folk/country radar
for some time and has picked up a bunch of awards and recognition just the same.
A real Americana act,
Brine fuses elements of all the stuff we've been listening to for years that you really can't compare to anything else that’s sure to really draw you under it's spell."
-- Chris Spector,
Midwest Record Recap

I'm Not Anyone ©2005
"I think Mark Brine must be Americana's best kept secret. A singer/songwriter for over thirty years, friend of the late and legendary pioneer fiddlin' Sid Harkreader, Brine writes wonderful story songs about ordinary people and ordinary places. And to tell these stories, Mark has a voice that is as comfortable as a favourite coat."
-- Pete Smith,
Country Music Round Up

"Mark Brine does the best traditional American roots music that I have heard in quite a while."
-- John Shelton-Ivany's Top Twenty-One

©2009 Mark Brine Music. All rights reserved.

MARK BRINE MUSIC • PO Box 962 • Westmoreland TN 37186 • markbrine@markbrine.com