Mark Charles, known for his role in the D.C. based Folk band Vandeveer, has released his debut solo LP, Calamity Strikes. In his solo effort, Charles examines his life from a vantage point in his adopted home of Louisville, Kentucky, in contrast to his previous environment.
Mark Charles comments on taking his time to develop solo work:
I don’t really follow a disciplined songwriting process. My relationship with the capital M ‘Muse’ isn’t very well-defined. I knew I would continue writing and recording music, I just wasn’t sure what shape any future project might take. And I was due for a healthy break after a decade-plus of really burning. Trying to establish and maintain a healthy balance with other important things in my life led me to my current situation, releasing my first ‘solo’ album in 2022.
Most of the songs were written and recorded pre-pandemic in a two-year process working with Charles’ producer and co-writer Justin Craig in his studio. The album was actually intended for release in 2020 before things changed in the world and Charles considers it an “apt illustration of the LP’s title Calamity Strikes“.
Charles and Craig both played the lion’s share of the instruments on the album, but they also brought in some musicians to lend their creative input and talent including Matt Duncan on horns, Ben Sollee and Cheyenne Mize on strings, and Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket) on drums.
We are so profoundly, incomprehensibly lucky to be alive, and yet, it can be nightmarishly complicated to get on with the actual act of living. If we can connect through creative expression and find common purpose through shared experiences, I think that’s a net positive.