Mark Struhsacker, Cold Outside | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Mark Struhsacker, Cold Outside 

Album Review

cd-cold.jpg

(Self-released, CD)

Over the past 35 years, Morrisville-based guitarist Mark Struhsacker has carved out a modest career as a busy sideman. The founder of the WDEV Radio Rangers — which he started some 26 years ago in an attempt to re-create the live country-music radio-show feel from the 1940s and ’50s — is a Vermont fixture who has played on innumerable local folk, country and bluegrass recordings. Oddly, though, he never produced an album of his own work. Until now. On Cold Outside, Struhsacker finally snags the spotlight for himself and delivers a collection of originals and old favorites that leaves the listener wondering what the hell took so long.

Struhsacker plays and sings with an ease and familiarity that reflects his three-plus decades backing up the state’s finest Americana artists. He has tact and tastefulness honed over countless hours of rehearsing and gigging at hay barns, grange halls and juke joints throughout the Green Mountains. As such, Struhsacker’s original tunes fit seamlessly with covers such as Red Smiley and Don Reno’s “Little Mountain Road,” Mark O’Connor’s “Cat in the Bag” and Cindy Walker’s “Leona,” the last of which features a lovely guest turn by the always excellent Patti Casey on harmony vocals.

Casey is not the only guest returning the favor and backing up Struhsacker for a change. Banjo Dan and the Mid-nite Plowboys’ Will Lindner turns up on mandolin on a few tracks, as does multi-instrumentalist Bob Amo, who plucks a mean banjo on the Struhsacker original “Sad & Blue.” And fiddler Tony Washburn is a highlight on album closer “Cat in the Bag.”

On “Your Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” the songwriter cedes lead vocal duties to Lesley Grant, whom he regularly backs as a member of Grant’s country band, Stepstone. It’s the only track on which he plays a backing role — and does so exceedingly well, of course.

But the remainder of the disc is Struhsacker’s show. From start to finish, he shines with the same sort of quietly lovely, understated performances for which generations of local players have sought his services.

Cold Outside by Mark Struhsacker is available at Haymaker Card & Gift and Green Top Market in Morrisville, Lackey’s Variety Store in Stowe and Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Bio:
Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox... more

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2020 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation