When jokers like Rod Stewart and Robbie Williams release albums dedicated to the ‘Great American Songbook’, it appears that the people they pay to tell them what to sing forget about Mark Lanegan. Because, let’s be honest, Lanegan doesn’t just sing the Great American Songbook; he IS the Great American Songbook.
Lanegan is unmatched, in the musical world at least, when capturing the wilderness, expansiveness and loneliness of America. He is the music equivalent of Cormac Mccarthy or John Steinbeck.
Live, he’s never sounded better; his spectacular vocals being given room to breathe by the excellent Jeff Fielder, who’s guitar work provides the perfect soundtrack to high lonesome. A man of few words, Lanegan’s poetic lyrics shine in the close atmosphere of Sage 2. It’s not far fetched to believe that if Lanegan continues with the trajectory of the past 20 years he really will be mentioned in the same breathe as Dylan and Cash for both voice and lyrics.
If ever you should bump into Rod-the-Mod, for the love of God, hand him a copy of a Lanegan album. Then watch him squirm.