In the past few years, Americana has seen a dramatic increase in global interest, but few of the international recording artists I’ve heard in recent months have given it the spin The Mark is with his new single “Louisiana Voodoo (featuring Tony Joe White)” at the moment. Bucolic influences aren’t forced to the surface in this piece but instead made to simmer and cultivate through a carefully developed lyrical narrative in the song referencing both blues and folk aesthetics rather liberally. The instrumentation itself is alternative soft rock done right, but in all fairness, trying to establish a proper genre branding for The Mark’s sound isn’t nearly as easy as falling in love with his unique style of experimentation is.
You can’t make “Louisiana Voodoo” work as well as it does without the moderate daggers White issues with his guitar, and when interwoven with The Mark’s natural vocal abilities, we get a smoky harmony in this song that could easily forge the centerpiece for an entire album. It’s evident from the start that these are two players more than well-versed in pop songwriting, but they aren’t sticking to the rulebook exclusively. With a basic structure to act as a template, these two players can colorize the music with as much bravado as they see fit (and believe me, they do).
This mix gives me the feeling that a hands-off production style was critical to delivering “Louisiana Voodoo” as authentically as possible, which isn’t to suggest that The Mark is somehow shortchanging us on pop polish in this performance. Perhaps it’s just not possible to give us the same swaggering, southern-style charisma from a Netherlands-based singer/songwriter without getting as barebones with the finishing as he does here, but all the same, we never have to question if another recipe would have been successful for this track – the version we’re gifted with is more than tasty enough.
The rhythm section does its part to give The Mark and Tony Joe White a nice groove to bounce their melodic wizardry off of, and I would even go so far as to say that their dedication to the beat is as important a component of the hook as anything we’re getting from the guitar and vocal. There were no slackers in the studio when this song was recorded, and whether you’re new to these players or have been keeping up with the former since he dropped the breakout single “Back Home to You,” that’s easy to recognize.
Anyone who has been left longing for a bit of simplistic pop wonderment filtered through the lens of new era Americana will especially appreciate what The Mark and his guitar-wielding counterpart have pulled off in “Louisiana Voodoo,” and moreover, the entirety of the new EP Floating Downstream as well. This song makes the record a can’t-miss release for soft rock buffs and indie devotees of all stripes, but if it can connect with a college radio-based audience over the summer, I think it’s going to launch The Mark into a new plane of respect from one side of the Atlantic to the other.