Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne - I Line My Days Along Your Weight - LP/CD
Brooklyn duo Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne recorded their debut, I Line My Days Along Your Weight, as a true duet: facing each other inches apart, intent upon listening. They wove together archaic instruments – baritone acoustic, tricone resonator, golden-era flattop, space-age lap steel, upright piano, and hundred-year-old mandolin – into a new and vibrant third voice.
All the songs were recorded live to two-inch analog tape, the studio equivalent of tightrope-walking without a net. Mark and Mary later added minimal touches of lap steel, piano, and electric guitar, but essentially what you hear is what they performed together, start to finish. With Mark's deeply expressive, contextual fingerstyle and Mary's emphatic, unaffected singing, this striking debut invites listeners into a space most intimate, and most human.
Mark & Mary each grew up on opposite sides of central Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River, but their paths did not cross until years later in the explosively creative East Atlanta music scene. From there, the two moved to Brooklyn, where they married, and where Mary earned her MFA in Writing from Brooklyn College and Mark quickly became an in-demand stage and session player and music instructor. Their collaboration began in earnest in the days after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in November 2012; with the city at a standstill, the two sketched many of the songs now on I Line My Days Along Your Weight.
Before this, Mark played with Brooklyn indie-folk band The Loom, with whom he toured and performed as part of Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave series and at Pop Montreal and CMJ. He was also multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with Atlanta's renowned alt-Americana quartet, Myssouri, whose War/Love Blues was selected by Pitchfork as a top album. Mary was lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for Atlanta trio Hot Young Priest, which toured nationwide; their Fiendish Freaky Love (Two Sheds Music) garnered critics' praise in Magnet, Amplifier, The Big Takeover, Time Out New York, and NPRs All Songs Considered.
"Despite its sparsity, there is bountiful, empathic tenderness balanced by passion in these songs. ... Anything but standard and makes for a hell of a debut album." ~ Allmusic (★★★★)
"Drives you to a thesaurus just to attempt to describe how and why this understated album is so effecting. ... Beautiful almost beyond measure." ~ Ink 19
"Mark Rogers & Mary Byrne's haunting, plaintively lyrical debut album I Line My Days Along Your Weight is a masterpiece of folk noir, one of the best releases of 2014. ... Play this with the lights out, late at night and discover two people who share your precarious world." ~ New York Music Daily
"The album Rogers and Byrne have just crafted as a duo ... should establish the pair as one of the most vital acts in folk music right now. ... Unassuming even as it devastates." ~ Flagpole Magazine
"The more I listened, the more I became entranced. ... There enters an unnameable radiance shimmering out from [Rogers'] repeated chords and fingerpickings." ~ Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
"Compelling to the end, the album's noirish and autumnal tones quietly shift from sparse to a full-bodied plunge into spiritual unease and world-weariness. As such, these 10 songs take shape as a panoramic view of an intensely inner-directed body of work that makes for the perfect soundtrack for a cold November night." ~ Creative Loafing Atlanta
"Acoustic album of the year? Why even ask." ~ Stereo Embers
"I Line My Days Along Your Weight emphasizes solid musicianship and memorable Americana melodies, yet, below the surface, a current of melancholy runs through the songs. It's a striking display of passion between two lovers whose love for their craft produces brilliant music." ~ Big Takeover