It would be damn-near impossible to imagine a music scene in Victoria without Carolyn Mark. For almost 20 years now, Mark has played mentor, match-maker and muse to many a musician in our town, all the while building an impressive catalogue of her own and touring extensively.
In spite of her near-nomadic lifestyle, Mark is indisputably Victoria’s musical cornerstone.
As the title of her most recent record suggests, The Queen of Vancouver Island is a homecoming for Mark. An odd ode to West Coast life, the album sets familiar, Island-induced images such as baby goats and BC Ferries to the rhythm of ’50s pop tunes.
This contrast of seemingly disparate worlds is at once disarming and compelling, something akin to the ghost of Loretta Lynne paying a visit to Beacon Hill Park.
Fittingly, Mark was on a ferry bound for home when I caught up with her earlier this week. Set to play a record release show at Logan’s Pub Thursday before embarking on a tour down the West Coast, Mark was forced to shout over a dull roar of turkey-stuffed passengers as she explained her approach to songwriting.
“I really like Hank Williams,” Mark explains. “He gets to sing about Louisiana and Memphis and Lafayette because he’s from there. I don’t really like it when Canadian bands sing about Memphis, so I was trying to make this my own version in a way.”
Those fortunate enough to find themselves at Logan’s (1821 Cook) on Thursday night will be among the first to hear Mark’s version of the West Coast in all its heartbreaking hilarity. She plans to play The Queen of Vancouver Island in its entirety and has assembled a dream team featuring a veritable feast of local talent such as Hank Pine, Rad Julie, Tolan McNiel, Joel Fernandez and Dennis Siemens to help her out. Be sure to stop by and pay a visit to The Queen of Vancouver Island (Thurs., Oct. 11 at 9:30pm, $10). M
—By Nick Lyons