This young singer-songwriter from Minneapolis delivers his second album – filled with mature, lush arrangements and fully realized songs that instantly captures your ear. Only 19 years old, John Mark Nelson sings with someone who has lived and toiled through a weary life and yet finds the joy in the way his vocals come across. Listen to the second track of Sings The Moon, “A Place Of My Own” – this piano driven song is filled with a warmth and spirit that almost belies the timbre of his voice, never mind that it’s driven by an uplifting melody. “Shorebird” may be the album’s magnum opus, coming in at 5 minutes – upon first listen to his voice when it kicks in with a finger picked acoustic guitar, I immediately thought of one of my heroes, Donovan (yes, THAT Donovan). An epic piece and a standout; beautiful and so well structured. “The Moon And The Stars” has an old-time feel with a jaunty accordion and ragtime piano undertone; “Oh, Light Within Us” is gentle and atmospheric and “Deep In The Night” closes the album in a warm, dark and yet comforting fashion.
Sings The Moon, I feel, is a complete package – a song cycle that has to be heard in total – not just song by song. There is just too much goodness to this collection of songs for any to be overlooked.