In just about every form of music, storytelling is becoming a lost art. Consider singer/songwriter Mark Gresty to be a rare find then. On Gresty's new albumthe first for the 59-year-old musician10 Cents Above a BeggarMark Gresty's Pappadom Songs
, each lyric has a point, every line written by a real soul. Most songs are insulting in their lack of intelligence and the way they demean the audience and I try to avoid doing that," Gresty explained. I spend much more time on the words than on the music, and the music tends to fall into place once the story is outlined."
The craftsmanship behind Gresty's songs is immediately apparent. A musical menu that embraces folk, soft rock, jazz, and the blues illuminates Gresty's poignant narratives, and he sings of life and love with a warm, straightforward voice. Many of the tracks on the album seem personal, even autobiographical; that's mainly because of the sincerity that Gresty expresses with his singing. On But I'll Miss You More," Gresty is nursing his wounds after a failed relationship with a woman in an oppressive marriage. Gresty writes honest, moving love songs that eschew today's trend of dousing what could have been heartfelt confessions with labored irony. Listen to his homage to young love on The Only One" and try not to be touched. I like to please people and express things in everyone's lives," Gresty said. Sounds pat, I know, but it is a truism of writing songs. If they're not relevant then they are not much good."
The pop explosion of the early '60s, especially the British Invasion with The Beatles
, The Who
, and The Rolling Stones
, initially triggered Gresty's interest in music. But he was also enamored of the punk and New Wave revolution in the late '70s. It was a wonderful period in music for its manic energy and crazed enthusiasm," Gresty recalled. I lived on amphetamines and had a great time while starving to death." Neither of those styles can be heard in Gresty's own work. No matter what I listen to or whose licks I learn, it always comes out sounding like me," Gresty said. Gresty proves that with his stellar first effort, a record that stands out by being so true to the artist's own vision.