Late this past October, 101 Ranch Records re-issued country artist Mark Collie’s 2012 live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary on CD. The recording, originally released in 2012 is an important piece of the singer’s catalogue. That is because it is a recording that almost didn’t happen as is pointed out in the recording’s companion booklet. The booklet, by the way, is the recording’s key element. That is rare for a live recording and will be discussed shortly. The show’s set list, by connection, is just as important to discuss as the recording’s companion booklet. The band’s performance of the show’s set list rounds out its most important elements. Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation. All things considered, Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is a piece that Mark Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as country music fans.
Eagle Rock Entertainment’s recent re-issue of Mark Collie’s Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary is a work that Mark Collie’s fans and country music fans alike will appreciate. That statement is supported primarily through the recording’s companion booklet. It is pretty rare for a live recording’s companion booklet to take precedence over its set list or even the band’s performance of said set list. But this recording proves that a recording’s booklet can be its most important element. The booklet is so important because of the history lesson that it presents. It reveals the set list, save for just one song—‘Rose Covered Garden’—was new material at the time of the concert’s recording. Speaking of the concert’s original recording, audiences will learn through the booklet that the concert was originally recorded on October 17, 2001 and it almost didn’t see the light of day. That was due to legal reasons. But luckily it did finally see release in 2012 through an independent source. That’s just some of the important material presented in the recording’s companion booklet. Audiences will also be interested to learn that it was Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison performance that influenced Collie to eventually hold his performance at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. There is also a relatively in-depth history of the prison itself, including the revelation that it once held James Earl Ray, the man responsible for the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and in The Silence of the Lambs, it was the prison that held the story’s villainous antagonist, Hannibal Lecter. This and so much more presented throughout the booklet proves why it is so important to the overall presentation of Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. Whether one is a seasoned Mark Collie fan or new to the veteran musician’s work, it is highly recommended that audiences in general read through the recording’s companion booklet before even taking in the concert itself.
Alive at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary’s companion booklet is clearly an important piece of the recording’s overall presentation. Regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work, it is recommended that every listener read through the recording’s companion booklet before taking in the concert. It is that important to the recording’s overall presentation. While the recording’s booklet is highly important to the whole of Live at Bushy Mountain State Penitentiary, it is not the recording’s only important element. The set list is important in its own right to the recording’s presentation. It has already been noted that the material presented in this concert was largely original save for just two of its songs. Those songs are ‘Rose Covered Garden’ and the group’s cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ That is extremely important considering that the show’s “new” songs were not included in any of Collie’s prior recordings or recordings put out since. ‘Rose Covered Garden’ was included in one of Collie’s previous albums while ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ is one of Johnny Cash’s songs, and audiences won’t find it on any of Collie’s previous albums, just as with the “new” songs. That makes this set list extremely special. That’s just part of what makes the set list so important to note. Audiences will also be surprised to learn through the concert’s interludes that at least one of the songs included in the set was written by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert. It is impressive to learn that Collie would show such interest in his audience as to put one of their songs on display. As simple of an action as it was, it was an action that had to have meant a lot to that inmate and the others. It’s the type of action that can truly establish a connection between performer and audience. No doubt it did just that and more. Taking into consideration the largely original set list and that Collie and company would even use one of the inmates’ songs for the set, it becomes fully clear why the recording’s set list is just as important to note as its booklet. It is just one more item that makes this recording shine, too. The band’s performance of the set list rounds out the recording’s most important elements.
Both the companion booklet included in Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary and the recording’s set list are key to the recording’s presentation in their own right. The booklet is key as it presents an in-depth introduction to the concert and the prison. The set list is important to the recording because save for just one of its songs, none of its songs are presented in any of Collie’s previous studio recordings. They haven’t been included in any recording since. It even includes at least one song crafted by one of the inmates housed at the prison at the time of the concert. Both of the elements noted within the show’s set list makes it just as important as the recording’s booklet to the concert’s overall presentation in its new re-issue. While both elements are clearly important in their own right to the recording, they are not its only important elements. The band’s performance of the set list is important in its own right. The concert is currently available only on CD, but the band’s performance is so easy to visualize because it feels so genuine. Between the group’s performance of the song’s and Collie’s rapport with the inmates, the whole performance feels so genuine. At one point, he even jokes with the inmates about something he’s drinking not tasting like a certain kind of beverage. What kind will be left for audiences to discover for themselves. It is a wonderfully entertaining moment, though. The group’s performance of ‘On The Day I Die’ is another example of what makes the groups performance so powerful. This song comes across in such a heartfelt manner that it will bring tears to any listener’s eyes. It is that moving. It’s one of those performances that absolutely must be experienced for one’s self in order to fully understand and appreciate the emotion in the performance. Of course one can’t ignore the group’s take on Johnny Cash’s famed ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ One can’t help but wonder what Mr. Cash might have thought if he were to have had the opportunity to hear the group’s take on the performance. It likely would have made him proud. It is that solid, even being played at a different prison. Between these moments and so many others, throughout the concert, it is clear that the group’s performance (both in terms of the songs and in terms of its interaction with the inmates) completely entertained the inmates and the guards. It will entertain listeners just as much, too. When it is set alongside the show’s set list and its companion booklet (and even the liner notes printed inside the case), the whole of this recording proves to be an outstanding recording. If it had been a new release, it would have made this critic’s list of the year’s top new live recordings. Even being a re-issue, it is still a recording that country fans across the board will appreciate regardless of their familiarity with Collie’s body of work.
Mark Collie’s recently re-issued live recording Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is not a new offering from the veteran country musician. That aside, it is still a work that country music fans across the board will appreciate. This is regardless of audiences’ familiarity with Collie’s body of work. That is thanks in large part to the liner notes and booklet included with the recording. The information provided through the liner notes and booklet create a wonderful, in-depth introduction to the concert and its historical significance. The set list itself is important to the recording’s presentation, too. That is because it is the only place—save for just two of the show’s songs—that audiences will find the “new” featured songs. ‘Rose Covered Garden’ is available on one of Collie’s previous albums and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ has been included in a number of Johnny Cash recordings ever since its original release. But the set’s other songs cannot be found on any of Collie’s other recordings. This shows, again, why the show’s set list is so important. It is still not the last of the recording’s most important elements, either. The group’s performance here is just as important to note as the other noted elements. The concert is currently only available on CD. But even on CD, the group’s connection with the inmates is so clear. That is made clear through the passion put into each song’s performance. The connection that Collie makes during the concert’s interludes is just as important to note in the group’s performance. Audiences will be able to tell just as easily as the inmates Collie’s genuine interaction. It gives the show even more of a special touch. When this is joined with the rest of the group’s performance, the show’s set list and the concert’s provided historical background, the whole of this concert makes it a concert that Collie’s fans will appreciate just as much as any country music fan in general. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Alive at Brushy Mount State Penitentiary online now along with all of Mark Collie’s latest news and more at:
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