Review by Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist. www.mikeocull.com
Texas singer/songwriter Mark Winters is an understated, positive, and smooth artist and performer with a unique take on alternative rock and guitar pop. His debut album, Slipstream, comes out on September 12th, 2019 and is a strong effort filled with melody and nuance. Winters writes songs that are catchy and engaging that will brighten your day and lift your mood. His music has a gentle quality to it that Winters refers to as “rock with a positive vibe” and that phrase fits what he does very well. His tracks aren’t meant to blow roofs off of roadhouses but to contribute life-affirming ripples to the world at large.
Slipstream is an 11-song jaunt through Winters’ musical life and each track is important to the album in its own way. Three of the songs on Slipstream, “Be There,” “Copper Queen,” and “Strong,” have already been released as singles so there is an immediate familiarity to the full-length album for those who have been following along. “Be There” is a cool, slightly gritty mid-tempo rock song about being in the present moment and not lost in a phone that puts Winters’ voice and lyrics out front where they belong. Vocally, he’s somewhere between Jackson Browne and Paul Simon and uses a similarly laid-back singing style very effectively.
“Brothers” is a chill blues/rock song that’s a call for human unity and features some outstanding lead guitar work. It comes across as almost psychedelic due to the way Winters sings it and the reverb-laden guitar parts, which makes the cut even cooler. “Copper Queen” adds a melodic dream-pop element to the record and feels like a co-write between Chis Isaak and Brian Wilson which, as you might imagine, is a winning combination. Winters also includes a cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” that suits him well and pays respect to a fallen master of the songwriting art. Other must-listen tracks here include “Waiting” and “Life Of 3.”
Slipstream is an excellent record that allows Winters to demonstrate that well-conceived and executed vocal songs are timeless and will always resonate with a large number of music fans. His aura of quiet cool is refreshing in our current age of noise and will likely connect with a large audience. Mark Winters may be a new player on the scene but is absolutely worth investigating. Highly recommended, this one.
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