Mark Melloan - "Hallelujah Love"

I was recently introduced to the music of Mark Melloan however Mark himself is no stranger to the music business. Having released his first album in 2002, 2016's Hallelujah Love is, interestingly, only his second release since then. Most easily associable with the music of Charlie Worsham, this second release from Mark makes for a distinctly comfortable listening experience from start to finish.

The title track of the release appears around half way in to the album. At almost five minutes long Hallelujah Love is a relatively lengthy track but it is nice to see that it doesn't slip into being boring at any point. As soon as the song starts you will inevitably find yourself tapping your feet along to the steady drum beat and guitar hook through a track that will leave you smiling at the sweet picture that the lyrics paint.

The subsequent track is also a strong part of the release. Hard Times, Good Times continues both the reflective lyrical theme built throughout the album and the overall audio package, highlighting that Mark clearly knows where his strengths lie however the only negative of the track being that it can feel a little rambling if looked at critically. Other than this, Hard Times, Good Times has a clear path that holds the listener's attention for the most part. Whilst Mark's tone isn't as 'gritty' as some of his contemporaries, there can be no doubt that tracks like this really suit him and this is a big part of what makes the album what it is.

It is the interweaving memorable melody, strong vocal performance and overall listenable qualities of album closer Let Love Hold Us that is the strongest song on the release. The addition of the harmonica adds an edge to a track that manages to round out the album as well as make you want to start listening all over again. Reinforcing the idea that you don't always need a heavier production to really sell a track at it's strongest, Let Love Hold Us uses rockier production influences sparingly whilst still sounding like a cohesive part of the album to create an appealing listening experience.

Track listing....
1) Misfortune Far Behind
2) Things I Feel
3) Greater Than Anything
4) It's You I Love
5) Arm Wrestling With The Devil
6) Safe
7) O Kentucky
8) Hallelujah Love
9) Hard Times, Good Times
10) Help You Stand
11) Happy Then
12) Our Share
13) Let Love Hold Us

Hallelujah Love as a whole is a lyrically focused release that crafts durable, well told stories throughout each of the tracks. Mark is clearly comfortable with each vocal delivery and this in turn increases the listener's enjoyment of the album. Mark is certainly a talented wordsmith and this grounds the album however I was pleasantly surprised by just how strong the overall release is and, whilst it would most likely appeal to fans of a more stripped back country style, I would definitely recommend a listen.