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Mark Wilkinson is an Australian singer-songwriter who recently released his second album, Let The River Run, earlier this year. It #2 on the iTunes Australian singer-songwriter charts, #2 on the Independent Music Charts and #61 on Australia’s official ARIA charts. Despite being distributed by a record label, Wilkinson is an independent artist and has sold over forty-thousand copies of his album at his own live shows. He has since opened for the likes of Brian Wilson and Peter Frampton. For his North American debut tour, WERS was lucky enough to have him stop by and play a few choice cuts off of his two albums.
Wilkinson started off with “Hey Baby.” The softly picked acoustic intro gave way to a melancholic melody and a sparse arrangement. “I know it feels like things have dropped to the floor, your heart is heavy you can’t take any more”, Wilkinson croons over the gentle acoustic background. Its just him in the studio, pouring his heart out. “But I say hey baby, don’t turn around and walk away baby” goes the catchy and somewhat upbeat chorus.
His second song was “Benny’s on the Rooftop.” The faster and more aggressive melody matched the harsh and depressing lyrics about a potential suicide with the refrain, “I think we pushed him way too far.” The guitar chords were sharp and potent, in sharp contrast to Wilkinson’s actually soft and silky voice. The sparse arrangement is in stark contrast to the more fleshed out studio version that features tinkling pianos and quick banjos, but the song’s message and melody shined through in this acoustic version, putting a powerful emphasis on the song’s bleak and important message.
The last song was “Baptism By Fire,” a romantic and wistful tune with a melody and lyrics to match the mood with lines like “More my window, you’re my new found desire” and “You’re a flickering desire brought to life.” The song builds emotionally, leading up to a catchy and widescreen chorus. Wilkinson does a good job of subtly conveying different emotions and feelings through the different segments of his songs, each feeding off of one another and accumulating in a nice finale.
Wilkinson is currently on a big tour through North America, his first American tour in fact. He recently played Somerville, KO Pies in the Shipyard in East Boston and M Bar and Lounge in Boston after a long tour that took him through Australia and England. His current tour schedule is slowly coming to a close with some highlights being shows at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City and three headline dates in New Zealand. Because he is an independent artist, you can directly order both of his studio albums along with a large number of live albums and demo EPs. You can also buy most of these off of iTunes. Wilkinson is a promising talent and will probably be a good deal more popular next time he stops in North America.