I'll See You AgainAmerican Rural Records
Third Coast Music Network Top 40 New Release Discs of 2014
13. MARK JUNGERS "I'll See You Again" (American Rural)
The thing I like most about Mark Jungers’ album I’ll See You Again is how easy it is to learn to sing along with them. These aren’t compositional masterpieces written by a cloistered songwriter showing off his/her talents. These are songs most likely composed in Jungers head as he was going about his day to day work. They have a rhythm and flow that fits in with someone who has to work for a living.
Jungers has unassumingly built up a mighty catalog of original work since his still-stunning 2000 solo debut, Black Limousine.
He's working a niche within a niche, to be sure - folks who dig Robert Earl Keen and John Prine but want a deeper peek into literate, soulful modern folk would do well to start with Jungers - and seems to acknowledge it with his approach by shrinking things down to a spare-room studio vibe.
It served him well on 2011's appealingly swampy More Like a Good Dog Than a Bad Cat, and it strikes the right tone again on this relatively autumnal, even-more-Iaconic-than-usual set of songs. Thematically, "I'll See You Again" plays out like a veritable concept album, with the jilted lover of "I'll Be Home" forsaking said house ("Don't Want to Live Here Anymore"), ruminating over reconciliation ("Do You Still Care") and the heartaches of history both local ("Johnson's Farm") and personal ("Plywood & Strings") before giving in to a sort of stoic, resilient loneliness (the closing "Ran Out of Tears," perhaps the record's finest moment).
And though Jungers' drawl might be more Fargo than Fort Worth, it hits home just as surely as his better-known peers.
MIKE ETHAN MESSICK
I'll See You Again - Mark Jungers (5 Stars)
Keeping up with Texas singer-songwriters is a full time job in itself, as fast as one fails, in FARster Calvin Powers' words, "the authenticity sniff test," two or three more take his or her place.
Even though I knew good people like David Obermann and Jim Beal Jr admired Jungers, he somehow never came up on my radar, even after 20 years as a songwriter, putting out seven albums. For this I apologize to him and you, because I really should not have been so remiss.
One reason, I won't say excuse, is that, based in Martindale, TX, Jungers mostly plays Hill Country venues with his long time band, The Whistlin' Mules, who back him here, along with Gurf Morlix pedal steel and baritone guitar, Gabe Rhodes accordion, all-purpose Canadian fiddler Jessica Hana Deutsch and Ben Balmer harmonica and vocals.
Even leaving the songs aside, the arrangements alone have a deeply satisfying organic feel, add in world weary vocals and gritty backcountry songs that cover betrayal, disillusionment, doings way too far back in the boonies for comfort, regrets, letting go, hocking mother's silverware to buy a cheap guitar, working and getting nowhere, well, let's just say that aren't too many unicorns and butterflies in Jungers' songs.
The opening I'll Be Home made me think of Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline era Fred Eaglesmith, but, with a rhythmic blend of country, folk and rock, Jungers easily passes Calvin's authenticity sniff test. JC
JC, Third Coast Music Network, 2014-08-02
Album Review: Mark Jungers : I'll See You Again
Mark Jungers' songs are full of finely developed characters, whose beautiful desperation shine through the authenticity of Jungers' voice. Texan, via Minnesota, Jungers has honed his rock tinged country songs for the last 20 or so years. His latest effort, I'll See You Again, has the sound of the mid nineties Fred Eaglesmith albums with a little Wildflowers era Tom Petty thrown in for good measure.
The album was recorded with some familiar faces to Jungers. His longtime backing band the Whistlin' Mules which features Adrian Schoolar on guitar and dobro, Wes Green on mandolin and Josh Flowers on bass have been recording and playing with Mark for years now. The comfort Jungers feels with these guys allows him to focus on writing great lyrics that he knows will translate well to recording and stage as Whistlin' Mules songs. In addition to his normal band, Mark enlisted the services of renown producer, and string player Gurf Morlix to add some pedal steel and baritone guitar on a few tracks as well as a few other guests to fill in the gaps of the tracks when needed.
One of my favorites from the record is "I Don't Want to Live There", a tale of a broken-hearted man who wants nothing to do with the home town where is former lover stays. Another shining moment of the album, is "Plywood and Strings" where the protagonist justifies pawning his dead mother's silver to buy a cheap guitar, stating that at least he wasn't buying smack like so many others who steal from loved ones.
In the end, I'll See You Again emerges as yet another fine record filled with engaging stories, presented with the tightness we've all come to expect from Mark Jungers and the Whistlin' Mules. Albums like this are a testament to the fact that more folks should be aware of Jungers' work and hopefully it will find its way to new ears across the country. I'm not sure when the official release date on this one is, but make sure you keep your eye out for it by visiting Mark's website: www.MarkJungers.com