Mars Arizona : Hello Cruel World

mars_arizona_cruel_world.jpgNicole Storto and Paul Knowles, together known as Mars Arizona, are a rootsy singer-songerwriter duo who fuse elements of rockabilly and folk to form a new breed of Americana music. On their latest release, Hello Cruel World, the two offer commentary on today’s modern landscape, firing poetic slings at a world gone mad. 

David Grisman joins the band for the opening track, “Dirty Town,” adding his blistering mandolin to this tale of the coping mechanisms of a small town barfly.  Al Perkins adds a haunting pedal steel to “Circus,” a track that mocks the freak show atmosphere surrounding our country’s politicians.  Perkins also sits in on “Landscape (for NOLA),” a first hand account of the devastation Knowles’ father witnessed in the aftermath of Katrina. 

Continuing in the tradition of their previous two releases, Mars Arizona found an eclectic mix of cover songs to sweetly compliment their original material.  While T Rex may barely recognize his “By the Light of the Magical Moon,” it’s highly unlikely that Loretta Lynn could have ever conceived of this type of “Blue Kentucky Girl.”  The best of the borrowed materials found on this disc can be heard on Neil Young’s classic “Time Fades Away.”

Hello Cruel World is out January 22 on Big Barn Records.