Purchase Smartest Man also on and
Smartest Man in the Room (2012)
(CD and mp3 versions)
Paul Mark & the Van Dorens
Produced and mixed by Paul Mark and Jeff Powell
Recorded in New Orleans and Memphis
Engineer: Lucas Peterson
Go here to purchase vinyl version of Smartest Man
"Hard-nosed blues power from one of the genre's most acute observers, this record drips with urban attitude...Uncompromising. In every sense of the word."
- Mark Uricheck, Living Blues
“Mark's a Dickensian conglomerate of honked-off preacher, university professor turned spooky drunkard…Infectious as a virus.”
- Mark S. Tucker, FAME
“A singer, songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire...gritty, sparse...but with levity and hope to spare."
- Jim Kanavy, American Blues News
"There is no holding back...packed and powerful!...Let the creature loose!"
- Kyle M. Palarino, BluesWax
Flipping off the board room from the roots rock mountain top, Paul Mark’s ninth CD, Smartest Man in the Room, is like no other blues rock release you’ve heard. Cut in New Orleans and Memphis with his raucous collaborators, the Van Dorens, this is the one that makes good on all the iconoclastic promise of Mark’s previous CDs. The vocals roar, the guitars claw at the earth, the band swaggers through the swamp, and the warehouse ambience grabs both aficionados and new-comers by the neck for a soul-throttling ride. Try to recall when a new blues release – great song after great song – left you asking “Who is that?”
Smartest Man includes a triumverate of virtuoso guitar instrumentals that again reveal Mark's deep understanding of Americana roots guitar and how far the genre can be pushed to the edge. Barrio Stroll, Wrist Rocket and Choke Hold are the kind of powerhouse instros revered by players who recall the days when it was possible to discover that the B side was infinitely better than the trash pop A side of a 45 single.
Nose-thumb the celebrity-driven audio and talent-show TV drivel. Stomp on the 1% rogues gallery. Strap in and listen to this witty/gritty stink bomb of a record. And decide yourself. Play it loud. Helmets recommended.
James Strain - Bass
Dan Schnapp - Piano, Hammond organ
Paul Vezelis - Drums
Al Gamble- Hammond organ
Harry Peel - Drums
P.Mark - Vocals, piano, guitar, percussion