Our love for Destroyer drew us to this interesting project out of Vancouver B.C. known as Heartbreak Scene. Conceived by singer Marcy Emery (The Choir Practice, Capozzi Park), the project’s stated mission is to cover songs by Mark Szabo, a songwriter about whom Mountain man John Darnielle has said “In a world crowded with songwriters clamoring for ‘unheralded master’ status, Mark Szabo is the real thing.” Or, take the Fayettenam label at its word:
Imagine an autodidact songwriter as attuned to down-and-out humanity as Springsteen, only far subtler than the Boss and steeped in art pop from the ESP-DISK label through Slapp Happy all the way to Drag City, with songs that are off-handed in execution but very, very deliberate in composition, and you’re getting the right idea about Mark Szabo.
Not sure whether we should be ashamed to confess our ignorance of Szabo or not, but there it is: we’re ignorant of Szabo’s apparently impressive songcraft. But based on the one and only example of his writing we have on hand, this cover by Marcy with Dan Bejar, we’ll likely school ourselves soon. Fully aware that what we’re hearing of “Love Outside Movies”‘ sparse intimacy is colored by Bejar’s indelible, inimitable touch, but the source material more than satisfies its end of the bargain. A must for Dan fans:
The Szabo Songbook is out now on Fayettenam Records.