CD-175 Mark Delaney "Sidecar"
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You've probably heard Mark Delaney, even if you think you haven't heard of him.
Mark began playing the banjo seriously in 1980 at age eleven, taught by his Kentucky-born grandfather, but also influenced by his father, a jazz critic for "Downbeat." Soon after, he found himself playing professionally in DC-area regional bands, including a lengthy stint with Arnold Hobbs and Partners at the legendary Parners Two club in Centreville, Virginia.
Since then, he's been busy in the studios and playing onstage with such greats as Jim Eanes, Frank Wakefield, Buzz Busby, Charlie Waller, Norman Wright, and Mike Auldridge. Meanwhile, he's been the banjo mainstay of DC-Baltimore groups like the Patuxent Partners, Badly Bent, and The Good Deal Bluegrass Band. Nowadays he holds down the banjo slot and provides vocal harmonies for the latest version of the legendary Country Gentlemen. And he's done all that while maintaining his "day job" as a BMW motorcycle mechanic.
Now "Side Car" Delaney, always a distinctive picker, is stepping out front. He's gathered a stellar instrumental cast for this production: Michael Cleveland on fiddle, Jesse Brock on mandolin, Audie Blaylock on guitar, and Barry Reid on bass. And he features some great singers as well, among them, Southern Maryland treasure Charles Thompson, Patuxent Partner Bryan Deere, soulful duet Randy Barrett and Dede Wyland, and producer (and secret weapon) Tom Mindte.
On this collection, Mark demonstrates his composing talents across genres, and with a feisty musical attack on the strings, he is always in control. You may find yourself holding on for dear life as you listen to some of the faster numbers, but it's not just speed that makes the musician: Mark proves that he can be subtle, articulate, and tasteful in backing up the more lyrical tunes. And if you thought a banjo couldn't sound lonesome and lovelorn, prepare to be surprised: The CD ends with a moving country choir rendition of "Let Me Walk, Lord, By Your Side." Here, Delaney contributes banjo and harmonies, proving his worth yet again as much more than a "sideman extraordinaire."
-Barbara Bamberger Scott