Back in the Country
Mark Brine has been writing, performing and producing Americana music for well over three decades - long before it became, what it is considered today to be, a viable music genre. But Americana music is just a relatively new name for music whose roots can be traced to some of the oldest music in America. A blend of folk, country and blues, Brine further defines his brand of Americana with songs that are superior studies of love, life and times past. Songs that tell stories. Songs that make you cry. Songs that move you. His recordings take the listener on a journey from early rural American roots music through it's spillover into the blues to a place where some people are in fact shy! Where life is still precious and significant and death is still a heartbeat that can shatter a soul. In 1995, Gavin first gave the genre credibility when it established the Americana Music Chart. 'Established as an 'Alternative-Country' base, Americana® is the vast musical ground between Country and A3. Home to more than singer/songwriters and country legends, Americana® is a growing format of quality roots music.' It includes new artists as well as older icons such as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams Sr. who have influenced alternative country and remains an alternative to the current offerings of the music industry. As Tom Cox wrote in the Guardian Media, 'It has yet to be processed by major label vultures ... it could be that it's intrinsic elements are just too complex and timeless to be diluted.' Or in other words, the music industry has yet to figure out a way to commercialize it. But authenticity cannot be cloned and while the record companies were brainstorming trying to figure out what the public wanted, the underpromoted, profoundly anti-pop, 'O Brother Where Art Thou' soundtrack sold well over 3 millions copies largely on word of mouth and won album of the year at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Which proves that with more access to information, more places to get music, people are making up their own minds about what they like, as opposed to what's made readily available. Mark Brine has a long and distinguished career deeply rooted in country music and American music history as well. Brine grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and began his career playing at the age of 13. In his 20s, he moved to Nashville and signed with two record labels as both a staff writer and roster artist. In 1979, he won the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival talent contest, and in 1992 his Grammy nominated 'New Blue Yodel' tribute to Jimmie Rodgers led to a debut performance on the Grand Ole Opry with Hank Snow. Someone once said, 'I could listen to him sing all night long ... he does a good job that boy does.' That someone was Roy Acuff on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. Mark Brine Music was born from the dedication and passion of an artist to give something back to the rural communities where American music grew up. With the release of 'Fortunes * the Best of Mark Brine' in April of 2004, a portion of the sales was earmarked to go directly to children and their families in Appalachia. The title cut is an Ola Belle Reed song and it seemed a fitting tribute to the artist who was born in the mountains of North Carolina and aspired to become one of the most influential forces on the traditional country music scene. Ola Belle learned to pick the banjo at an early age and soon began writing songs about her life in the mountains. During the Depression she moved to Baltimore with her brother, Alex, where she performed on radio stations across the state. In 1954, together with her husband, Bud, she founded the popular music venue, 'The New River Ranch' near Rising Sun, Maryland one of the premier country music parks of the '50s. They were the first to bring the big-name bluegrass and country stars to the area. In 1986, Ola Belle was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award. ' ... you cannot separate your religion, your politics from your music. It's a part of life. ' -- Ola Belle Reed; and that, just about sums it up.