MARK MULHOLLAND, JAMES FINCH JR AND RUSTY MILLER
Rummage is one of the many projects of Scottish musician Mark Mulholland, in which he teamed up with a couple of friends and long-time musical collaborators, James Finch Jr. And Rusty Miller, to record a dozen of his songs at a studio near San Francisco in May 2014, for an album entitled « Somewhere Else ».
Born in Glasgow, Mark Mulholland started playing in bands in Edinburgh in the late ’80s, then for two decades lived and played in various European cities including Berlin, Paris, Prague and Galway, while touring extensively throughout Europe and North America, always combining his solo career with various bands and projects such as acoustic folk/blues/country outfit Two Dollar Bash, with whom he made 4 albums, indie rock band Impure Thoughts and folk/punk collective The Oul’ Bogwarriors, as well as session work with Nikki Sudden, Captain Sensible, Phil Shoenfelt, Superbravo and many other artists. In 2010, he moved to Haiti, where he spent 4 years, before relocating to Bamako, Mali, in September 2014, where he is working on several new projects.
During his time in Prague in the early 90’s Mark met up with many musicians who were similarly attracted to the magical atmosphere in the city in the years after the Velvet Revolution, and this developed into a group of friends who have stayed in touch over the years, swapping songs and meeting up from time to time for gigs when the opportunity occurs. One of these was Rusty Miller, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Northern California, who has made many albums with his own bands Jackpot and Nightgown, as well as being very much in demand as a sideman for the likes of Cake, Chuck Prophet and Jason Lytle. Rusty’s European tours and Mark’s US trips permitted the pair to meet quite frequently, and when both Jackpot and Two Dollar Bash were invited to the prestigious SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, in 2007, a week of intensive partying and jamming ensued, during which Mark also became firm friends with the guitarist of Jackpot, James Finch Jr. The following winter, Rusty and James invited Mark to San Francisco, and the three did a series of gigs there, and James and Rusty both came for musical visits to Berlin and Paris.
SXSW turned into a regular meeting, with Two Dollar Bash being invited again in 2008 and 2009, when they also included a Californian leg of the tour, and in 2010 Mark was invited as a solo artist, and did a 20 date tour of the States with James, with Rusty joining them for the west coast dates. While in San Francisco during this trip, James worked with Mark on the recording of parts of his second solo album, “The Cactus and the Dragon”, which was released on the Berlin label Cannery Row Records in 2011 to critical acclaim, as a follow up to the double album “The Devil on the Stairs” (2008).
On moving to Haïti in September 2010, Mark worked with young local bands in a cultural centre in Port-au-Prince, as well as collaborating with many established Haitian artists, including the world-renowned writer, painter and actor Frankétienne, with whom he recorded an album of music and poetry entitled “Chaophonies”. He also made regular trips back to Europe to continue with his projects there, and September 2012 saw the release of “Waiting for the Storm”, with former dEUS guitarist Craig Ward and Belgian double bass player Hannes d’Hoine. The album was chosen by the Telegraph as one of “five summer treats of British folk music”, and rated by R2 magazine as “one of the best albums of 2012”. Another highlight of the stay in Haiti was working with the legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen on a project due for release later this year.
During the time Mark was in Haiti, James was honing his skills as a recording engineer and producer, and making his second solo album, “The Low Road”, and Rusty made an album with his new project, Nightgown, along with a very busy schedule of studio work and gigs with Jason Lytle, Chuck Prophet, Tom Heyman and others.
Mark, James and Rusty decided to meet in California in May 2014, and finally record the album they had talked for years of doing together. James booked time in the studio he was working in at Stinson Beach in Marin County, north of San Francisco, and the three of them locked themselves in for 5 days, working up to 18 hours a day. The resulting 12 songs range from raw rock’n’roll (“Ebb and Flow”, “Hoodathunkit”, “Somewhere Else”), catchy pop-rock (Dreaming of Trains”, “Claret Blue”, “Trams and Trains and Aeroplanes”), laid-back blues and grooves (“Give me a Ride”, “Less than Tomorrow”), uptempo country (“Smoke Trails”) to wistful folk and late night melancholy (“Departure Lounge Blues”, “Floods of Memories”, “Fucked up Again”), with both Rusty and James turning their hands to drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, vocals and percussion as required by the song.