on the Tracks
Bar None Records
the prophet said that the daughter of a Whitefish, Montana drive-in
theatre operator shall steal off to the Big Apple and record a live
reworking of Dylan's classic divorce album. And it was so. And it
was good. And it was so f***ing
the music industry, and curse it as well. For every scrubbed up
boy band taking anti-puberty pills to prolong their fad, for every
paper doll cut-out in danger of capturing more headlines with her
navel than her lyrics, for every metric tonne of paint pots and
makeup and made up careers, there is a Mary Lee Kortes.
while industry bigwigs and bankers scratch their heads and bemoan
the loss of sales and curse Napster, CD burners and fickle audiences,
music fans -
the ones immune to hypnotism by MTV, those who will not be hoodwinked
by a soft
parade of pre-fab albums, those who cannot be bought by nice prices
surprises - those fans, against all odds, still get excited when
up the industry's skirts and find the likes of Mary Lee's Corvette.
formed the band upon her arrival in New York, and soon released
the band's self-titled debut, an unassuming two-track recording
that ended up on the year-end Top 10 list of the editor of Billboard
Magazine. This recording of Blood on the Tracks was also the work
of coincidence, not calculation. Musician-producer
Eric Ambel (Roscoe's Gang) answered the phone and yelled to
Kortes, "You wanna do Blood on the Tracks at one of those classic
Arlene's (Grocery)?" After three days of learning harmonica,
Mary Lee and Co.
tossed the soundman a cassette and took to the stage.
results of the session are stunning - an album on which simplicity
and serendipity dance to a serenade of past pains, where the ashes
of a fire long since cold are sifted for meaning and fed again into
the flame of passion. Kortes has as many highway miles in her voice
as Lucinda Williams,as much wisdom in her tone as Mary Gauthier
and her style is as indelible as Marianne Faithfull's. And while
Rolling Stone's record guide crucified Dylan's band for being below
par on the original album, this unit flows and jangles, coasting
on organ and harmonica that sear and soar.
they could have tripped and sank while treading over such sacred
musical quicksand, instead Mary Lee's Corvette has decorated this
old path with