Music

Mark Edgar Stuart Bares His Heart on New Album, 'Mad at Love' (album stream) (premiere)

Photo: Johnathan Thomason

Always maintaining a tender demeanor, Mark Edgar Stuart's songwriting is as smart as it is sincere, featuring a bevy of instrumental and vocal subtleties that form a greater whole.

In the beginning, Mark Edgar Stuart was revered throughout Memphis for what he could do behind a bass. One of Tennessee's top instrumentalists in his field, Stuart played with the likes of Cory Branan, Jack Oblivian, and a host of other noteworthy names. Having never paid much attention to honing-in on his fingerpicking or vocals, all of this had changed following a lymphoma diagnosis and the passing of his father from a heart attack. It was a chance meeting with Levon Helm that kept the Arkansas-cum-Memphis artist on the battle path towards remission, but it was his father's death that inspired him to start penning the songs that would later comprise Mad at Love.

Releasing on Madjack amidst the imprint's 20th anniversary celebration, Stuart's latest album will be dropping on 12 October. The multifarious Americana of which the album represents showcases a flourishing of Stuart's heart, laid bare on his sleeve. Each song tells a different story not just in its lyricism, but in the way through which the artist handles it. Always maintaining a tender demeanor, Stuart's songwriting is as smart as it is sincere, featuring a bevy of instrumental and vocal subtleties that form a greater whole. While folk and the blues are most evident in Stuart's delivery, it's his inherent soulfulness that sells each story that Mad at Love holds with such an infectious, heartening sense of mindfulness and clarity.

Stuart tells PopMatters that he "recorded this batch of songs over the course of two weekends at two different studios. Just a snapshot of what was on my mind at the time. It was all freshly written material. It seems like everyone around me was scratching their head trying to make sense of their own life. Myself included. These are my stories mixed in with other people's stories. Full circles, dead ends, and unexpected turns. One of the hazards of being friends with a singer-songwriter is your business might end up in a verse or a chorus."

On 20 October, Stuart will be performing at Memphis' Railgarden for Madjack's 20th Anniversary show.

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