Reviews

"Canada’s DANNY MACK comes from country’s old school – raw and honest.  He’s been plying his trade for more than 40 years, performing on the same bill as fellow country artists such as JOHN PRINE, KIERAN KANE and way back to the BYRDS and the SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET.  It’s no surprise that on his arrival in Australia he linked up with the like-minded BILL CHAMBERS, who co-produced this album with Mack as well as sharing vocals on BILLY JOE SHAVER’S title track, Ride Me Down Easy.  Surprisingly, all the songs are covers, but they’re well chosen.  A couple of WILLIE NELSON tunes, two from MERLE HAGGARD, but what’s interesting is Mack picking up some Aussie compositions, including KASEY CHAMBERS Nullarbor Song and an emotive version of JOHN WILLIAMSON’S A Bushman Can’t Survive.  Mack’s vocals sound like they’ve done a lot of miles, which only adds extra appeal to this soulful country album."

GREG BUSH, CAPITAL COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS, Australia.

"Don't be misled by the album's title, or its sub-title "Where Roy Rogers Meets Buck Rogers"; or the two-page liner note introduction to this album telling the story of how "the Sirians from a far-off galaxy visited our planet"; or even the fact that Danny Mack has billed himself in the past as "The Mysterious Cosmic Cowboy" ...this is nothing but pure, honky tonk country music. The kind that Buck and Merle and Wynn gave us from their Bakersfield days."

Danny Mack is a West Coast veteran of the Canadian country music scene...true he has often ventured down different musical trails, but he remains a "stylist", and Galaxy Cabaret marks a return to his honky tonk musical roots. All songs here, save for a cover of the Utah Phillips country/folk classic 'I Remember Loving You' are original Danny Mack tunes, and he has created some real winners, touching on all aspects of the honky tonk world...boozin', hurtin', cheatin' and partyin', are all part of the menu.

The album opens with the title track 'Galaxy Cabaret', and it immediately dispels the thought of some kind of "honky tonk meets Star Wars" project. This is gutsy, steel guitar driven honky tonk music, made even more effective by Danny Mack's smoky throated vocal stylings. You can tell the boy's been in more than a couple of smoky taverns. Next up is a swing-flavoured 'Dance With Me' and its followed by the whiskey hurtin' song 'Hotel'. All are truly standout efforts.

The album continues to toss up some great tunes in the two-steppin' 'Ol' Beat Up Truck', a lonesome ballad in 'The Loving Game' and some Wynn Stewart 'Bakersfield' sounds in 'Bitter Half'. There's plenty of diversity here - 'Holy Karumba' injects a Jimmy Durante-style snort; 'If You Only Knew' has a touch of the Willie Nelson / Ray Price cabaret country magic, and 'You Beat Me To The Door' is a tune reprised from Danny Mack's own 1980's Alberta Crude album which also gave us nuggets like 'I Wonder If Waylon Jennings Did This', and 'Good Ol' George Jones', as well as his nationally charted, 'Debbie Delight'.

The album closes with 'Canadian Cowboy', a patriotic ode to the 'Cancountry' way of life; and it comes complete with a Danny Mack yodel that would make Wilf Carter proud.

Galaxy Cabaret was co-produced by Danny Mack and Perry Barrett and recorded at Dark Horse Studios in Vancouver. Like any honky tonk album worth its weight there's got to be a lot of scorching steel guitar work, and Jim Dorin does the honours here with some really tasty work featured on every selection on the album. Good stuff!!!

LARRY DELANEY - COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS, Canada

"Danny Mack is a pioneer and veteran of the Vancouver music scene known for his signature sound and style. This newest release (Galaxy Cabaret) is proud, old fashioned, traditional country and Mack does it with great affection and skill. Rating - four stars out of five"

JOHN P. McLAUGHLIN - THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE, Canada.

"It would be a gross understatement to say that Danny Mack has a few stories to tell. The Vancouver based singer/songwriter has, over the course of his lengthy career, managed to play everything from soul to psych rock to country. After a decade spent splitting time between New York and Amsterdam, Mack returned to his home in the early '90s. He disappeared from view, however, immersing himself in television, movie and soundtrack work.

Much to roots fans' delight, Mack released his first album in years in 1999 (I'm Alright Now), and followed that up two years later with 'We All Fall Down'. Both albums demonstrated that Mack's storytelling technique had benifited from his time off, as it appeared more finely tuned than ever. Now, Mack is preparing to bring his unique, soulful style to Calgary as part of the Epcor Centre's Songwriters series, and he is uniquely suited for participating.

His career, while attracting attention from a wide section of peers and critics, has been largely based in Western Canada, and much of his recent work chronicles the hard life (and hard livin') associated with the prairies. He is preparing a new album that combines his music and his experience in the movie and television arenas in the '90s, as the upcoming record will be accompanied by a story and script. The album, to judge from the three songs (still awaiting final mixing) that were made available for review, should see Mack ensconcing himself within the old style country approach this time out. The track "Bitter Half" is a swinging two-stepping number, while "If You Only Knew" features the slide guitar prominently. The change from the moody roots based music of 'We All Fall Down' should come as no surprise, as Mack has made a career out of moving from style to style with ease."

DEREK MCEWEN - 'THE CALGARY STRAIGHT', Canada

 "Danny Mack is one of these artists that crafts poignant, earthy lyrics refreshingly free from abstract mysteries. His accessible tunes clearly spin stories of pain, love and loss - themes he's adept at tackling. The messages are raw and startling. Mack isn't one to piece together lyrics packed with esoteric symbolism - leaving the listeners baffled as to 'deeper' meanings. His latest CD, 'We All Fall Down', nails a spectrum of heavy issues - punctuated further by the artist's gritty delivery. There's a dreamlike quality to the disc, which Mack also produced. From the brooding, eerie recollections of Main Street to the sobering search for hope in the title track, Mack's quest for peace and justice pervades the project."

MARK WEBER - RED DEER EXPRESS, Canada.

"Danny Mack: a revered and vital figure on the Western Canadian music scene for more than three decades performs solo or with bands - the Hydro Electric Street Car, Fireweed, and Alberta Crude among others.

Without a trite moment among its eleven cuts, We All Fall Down adds a significant chapter to his canon. Mack has crafted a release of compelling lyrical depth and imagery simultaneously troubling and refreshing, stark and detailed. The title track is central to the album's themes of hunger, redemption, respect, and hope. Here he uses metaphors of wolves and vultures to describe those who are out to take advantage of others.

Other tracks offer similar dark atmospheres. Dreamland, with its refrain of "think what life could be if..." is told from a junkie's perspective and Buffalo Hunter tells of an urban man's struggle with "cheap rice wine" and the pain of earlier times. Live And Die In Fear effectively captures the dashing of dreams and smashing of false securities and Bobby's On The Run has a Darkness-era Springsteen spirit. Mack's lyrics are not concise but neither are they superfluous.

The most startling aspect of this album, through all the blood, hardship, and degradation, Mack's restrained voice and economical delivery is positively the opposite of, yet ideally suited for, the largely ugly and depressing topics. His voice has a more natural country blues quality than John Hiatt; whereas Hiatt sometimes seems to be singing to show that he can, Mack just sings because he must. And that may be the best reason to seek out We All Fall Down. "

DONALD TEPLYSKE, PENGUIN EGGS -FOLK, ROOTS AND WORLD MUSIC MAGAZINE, Canada.

Danny Mack, 'We All Fall Down' 11 sides. "You hear a lifetime of rough experience in his voice. His delivery is honest and damn good. 4 1/2 Stars"

RHETT ASHLEY, INTERNATIONAL COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION,Nashville. U.S.A.

"His new album 'We All Fall Down' will secure Mack's place in history as one of Canada's foremost roots songwriters. Mack is a writer who never seems to falter in vision, heart, expessiveness and subject matter."

KIRBY - SEE MAGAZINE, Edmonton, Canada.

"Danny Mack has been making music in Vancouver since the '60s as a member of historic bands such as Hydro Electric Streetcar and the Cement City Cowboys. Lately he's been in the movie business and the title song here, the gritty 'WE ALL FALL DOWN', is actually the theme to a feature film of the same name. Mack is good at gritty. In his intense sandpaper voice he sings about ordinary people and their hard lives in songs such as 'Main Street' or the touching 'Trembling Angel'. No question, Danny Mack is one of the finest roots singer/songwriters in Canada. Rating * * * * out of five"

JOHN P. McLAUGHLIN - THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE, Canada.

"...highly personal, entertaining and moving acoustic collection of 12 original tunes. The style ranges from Dylanesque folk and blues to sparse rock n’roll....He’s more than ALRIGHT NOW. Rating * * * * out of five."

JAMES MURETICH - THE CALGARY HERALD, Canada.

"If you never knew Vancouver singer-songwriter Danny Mack during his previous incarnations spanning four decades---from the acid rock of Hydro Electric Streetcar to the western swing of Cement City Cowboys---his latest musical offering shows it's still not too late to join the fanclub. Three of the 11 rootsy songs on 'WE ALL FALL DOWN' are also on the soundtrack of the film of the same name, director Martin Cummins' portrayal of the seamy culture of heroin addiction, filmed on location in the Downtown Eastside. Mack's gritty vocals are perfect for the job as he explores the frail, fallen lives just trying to endure one more day---and, perhaps, find the strength to get out and save themselves. As Mack wryly concludes, "It ain't dance music". Rating 4 stars."

LARRY PYNN - THE VANCOUVER SUN, Canada.

"Far from the Juno Awards and the glare of Much-Music's lights, there are great singer-songwriters whose music is unknown except to their dedicated followers. Vancouver's Danny Mack is one such artist and his latest indie CD is easily his best to date. It's a gripping collection of tales and tunes about street life, drugs, friends and youthful dreams dashed on the rocks of experience yet somehow still alive...barely. With Mack's gravel voice, bare bones intensity and haunting melodies, 'WE ALL FALL DOWN' is a country-folk classic, the rootsy equivalent of fellow Vancouverite Art Bergmann's rock visions of scenes from the underground. The Junos may not know Mack's name but those who do, know that greatness isn't measured by awards...it's by life lived and conveyed so powerfully in songs, like those on 'WE ALL FALL DOWN'. Rating * * * * out of four."

JAMES MURETICH - THE CALGARY HERALD, Canada.

"This album (I’M ALRIGHT NOW) chronicles the diverse and eclectic life of the man affectionately dubbed the Cosmic Cowboy. It’s a splendid singer/songwriter debut from a man whose career has spanned over three decades and shows no signs of slowing down...The ‘90s have seen the emergence of Mack as an actor and producer, and this summer he revealed himself in this stripped-down format of pure, organic music." KIRBY - SEE MAGAZINE. Edmonton, Canada.

"Having survived almost 40 years in show business, from the doo-wap of his first band, the Van-dels, to his current incarnation as a solo singer/songwriter, Danny Mack has packed more into his life than most of us could only dream of. And with the release of I’M ALRIGHT NOW, he shows that he’s not planning on quitting any time soon."

ALEX VARTY - THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, Vancouver, Canada.

"I’M ALRIGHT NOW is classic ramblin’ troubadour material, just the man, his guitar and a pocketful of memories."

THE DRUM MEDIA - Sydney, Australia

CD OF THE WEEK "...he’s put in a lot of miles geographically and cerebrally as a psychedelic cowboy, which is what this album eloquently and authentically documents. This laid-back and intimate acoustic session finds Mack sharing pearls of wisdom, the friendliness of his music and his friendship with longtime accomplice Dan Tapanila."

TOM HARRISON -THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE, Canada.

"...It’s a stripped down, bare-boned production, rife with honest songs and shot through with humour and the confessions of one brave enough to live life wide awake." MICHAEL BECKER - NORTH SHORE NEWS, Vancouver, Canada.