Mango. Avacado. Salsa.Caroline Mark has a recipe for success
By Bridget Arsenault
There is nothing typical about Mark. This girl is a ball of fire. Her laughter erupts from within her, taking control of an entire room. Her ebullient vocals and spirited personality will take charge: it’s contagious. Mark takes spontaneity with her in all aspects of her life and performance. After playing this summer’s Winnipeg Folk Festival, Mark hitched a ride for the thirteen hour drive to Alberta with The Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, a group she had only just met at the Festival. Mark’s power ballad folk has been getting her noticed for some time now. In 2000, Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor helped record Mark’s debut album Party Girl. Mark and Blue Rodeo have a longstanding history together. This recording came about after Keelor casually commented about some Vintage Recording equipment he had at his house. Mark was enticed, and she told Keelor that she was going to use it to record her first album. Shortly after, Mark sent Keelor a postcard reminding him of their recording engagement and sure enough Keelor stuck to his word and the two hauled out the Vintage equipment and got to work. “I told him that I was going to put it to good use,” says Mark.
Next month Mark will be playing her first live show with Blue Rodeo. “I heard the show announced on one of the man radio stations that other day, Jack FM or something. They said my name; it was funny,” describes Mark, using her best impression of a male radio personality voice to describe the experience. Mark has already recorded five albums, her 2007 and most recent I remember this one time my guitar player and I were so sick of one another. I was literally sick at the thought of him. Then I locked the keys in our van release Nothing Is Free has been an !earshot chart favourite. “I think I’m getting better between each record…at least I hope,” Mark adds with a giggle. As for her next step within the recording world, “NQ Arbuckle are a band I totally want to make a rock record with,” says Mark. “They helped me get over my fear of rock.”
Mark is unquestionably thinking ahead to her future recording plans, but that being said she is a girl who lives in the moment. Every time she plays a live show, she’s there stuck in that live moment prepared to deliver...well, whatever she feels like delivering. “I think my live shows are all different, that’s the beauty of a live show isn’t it.” Physically Mark switches between solo live shows and being backed by a band. “I make it more subtle,” she says about playing solo. “Sometimes in a club I feel all small and lonesome; the crowd is louder than I am. When that happens, having a band can be nice; it helps fill up space. The thing about having a band is that then you have the other twenty-three hours of the day to fill with them.” With this comment Mark erupts with laughter. “I remember this one time my guitar player and I were so sick of one another. I was literally sick at the thought of him. Then I locked the keys in our van and without even having to ask him I came back to the van and he had unlocked it somehow. Then I felt so bad about thinking such bad thoughts about him.”
Carolyn is spunky; she is fierce, and she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Mark jokes that she doesn’t really know who her fans are; she’s still scratching her head trying to figure out who exactly is coming out of the shows. Sometimes in a club I feel all small and lonesome; the crowd is louder than I am. When that happens, having a band can be nice; it helps fill up space “It’s dark, I don’t know; I can’t tell,” says Mark about her stage view of the audience. “I think my shows are equal opportunity shows,” she continues with a rich baritone laugh. “There are always a lot of CBC moms. I think a lot of women go to make sure that their men come home afterwards”
Mark isn’t too caught up by exactly what type of person her music resonates with, nor is she overly concerned with which music makes it into her live show. “I think when you’re playing live you’re always most in love with your newest creation, the newest record or the other songs written since. Really though I just play whatever I play. It’s about trying to please yourself and the crowd. You know sometimes I’ll be playing in a room with blue walls or something and then that will remind me of some song and I’ll play that, even though I probably should be playing off my most recent record. I play a mix.”