Solo albums are often the best way to see your favorite artists up close and personal. Marc Atkinson recently released a new album called “Black & White”, and it reveals his heart in ways that his other work does not. The album released on September 4th and is available on his site and Bandcamp page.
Marc comes to us from Millom, UK. He is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, and I feel that this soaks his music in whimsy and spirituality. Marc is better known as the vocalist for Riversea and Moon Halo, and former vocalist for Nine Stones Close. His repertoire is full of truly transcendent music, but his solo works help us see the man as he is without trappings. Marc offers lead vocals, acoustic guitar, ebow, and bass on this album. Tammy, his partner in life, also provides vocals on several tracks.
“Black & White” is a double album. The first disc features thirteen tracks of original material, while the second disc provides thirteen covers. Marc’s day job is gigging at local pubs, and so his ability to cover classic songs tastefully and respectfully is well-known. For the second disc, you will find covers of artists ranging from Pink Floyd to Peter Gabriel, Biffy Clyro to Maroon 5, and from Marillion to Transatlantic. That is quite a spread and I think anyone could find something to love there. Personally, I absolutely love his cover of Marillion’s “When I Meet God”. Like on most of his covers, Marc finds the core emotions of the original, and then expands upon them.
The first disc is the main feature for this album, though. Marc’s solo music is typically acoustic in nature. Many of the songs are just Marc and his guitar, and I think that’s a refreshing change of pace from the many crazy bands I listen to every day. Marc writes heartfelt lyrics that in many ways are the real soul of what he does. He writes about his love for his family, his appreciation for his fans, and his darker times in life. On this record, you can add the coronavirus pandemic and fantasy to that list, too.
I love hearing his thoughts and the emotions that he expresses so well. I love the homegrown, close-knit feeling of the production and the life he shows us. I love his father’s heart and his lover’s soul. I love his abstract spirituality and his stubborn stand for the oppressed. On this record and pretty much everything else he has produced, Marc shows us that he is a decent man, someone that I truly admire from my side of the world. Stepping back from the album for a moment, I remember a time about five years ago when Marc sent me a copy of a book he wrote called “Eternal”. It was a bit of sci-fi and there was time-travelling and all sorts of religious imagery, and it really made me think. To this day, I think of that book whenever I hear his music. There is a sense of simple profundity and genuine goodness in whatever he writes.
As I mentioned, the first disc has thirteen tracks. I enjoy all of them. If I had to choose favorites, I would probably point to “Until We Meet Again” (about our current lockdown), “The Book” (fantasy), “Pink Things” (a love song to his daughter), and “Lifeline” (appreciation for his fans). My favorite overall, though, is “Safe and Sound”. It is a perfect track. The melody is addictive and I find myself singing the chorus often. Marc has the ability to write gorgeous vocal lines, and this song is an impeccable example.
Marc Atkinson continues to prove why I love to follow his music. This album is rich with family, love, and empathy. Marc’s voice sounds amazing, as always, and his harmonies with Tammy are a real treat. Please consider purchasing the album, or any of his music, and be sure to follow his online gigs that he performs weekly. You can request songs and donate directly to his livelihood, and they are a fun experience.
Find Marc Atkinson online: