Americana Highways is pleased to premiere this song “Highway Signs” from Mark Cline Bates’ upcoming release King of the Crows, due on June 28th. King of the Crows was produced and mixed by Don Dixon (James McMurtry) and engineered by Tracey Schroeder at Old House Studio. “Highway Signs” is Mark Cline Bates on vocals and piano; Don Dixon on bass and acoustic guitar; Jim Brock on drums and percussion; and Michael Lipton on electric guitar.
King of the Crows is heartfelt songwriting with, at times, some quirky relief; and a lot of mournful piano to slot this into the “unique” musical category this season. Don Dixon’s production sensibilities show in the energy, the careful space between instruments, and the timing ratios. Cline Bates’ vocal tones echo the mournful qualities of Jason Isbell. As he tells you the lyrical character “ain’t too good at learnin’ quick, or readin’ Highway Signs,” you’ll feel the pain he feels, missing the daughter he’s forbidden to see, and Cline Bates’ flinty vocals will sweep you into rapt musing.
My father always used to tell me to look through the lens of where someone comes from and there’s probably a set of circumstances that brought that person to their present situation. Bad circumstances don’t vindicate bad behavior but they can explain it sometimes and enable you to have empathy. This song is about a character whose circumstances ended up getting the best of him. Depending on the day and time ….. I feel a great deal of kinship with this imperfect character. — Mark Cline Bates
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