Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands – Cody’s Dream.
For those that do not know about Mark Pickerel, he was the original drummer for seminal alternative band. The Screaming Trees. He has also worked along such alternative luminaries such as: Kurt Cobain, Mike Johnson, Ben Shepherd, Jack Endido, Krist Novoselic, Steve Fisk and final Screaming Trees drummer, Barret Martin. Steve Fiskis also the producer of the Praying Hands debut album, Snakes in the Radio as well as Cody’s Dream.
This is the follow up to the Praying Hands’ debut album, Snake in the Radio. This album is along the sames lines as Snake in the Radio, but where Snake in the Radio could be considered Alt. Blues of sorts, Cody’s Dream is full-blown Alt Country. It loosely follows the same path of telling a story throughout the album, but it is much looser. Mark also talks more about religion then he did with his previous effort. He seems to back away from religion in some songs, but is drawn back to it again in others. The same thread of “works for some, not for me, though” seems to be a persistant theme. Very much like his fellow maverick Mark Lanegan does time and time again. (Maybe a concidence, but they did play together in the Screaming trees from 85-91).
The album starts off hard and fast with the title track and gets you prepared for the journey that Pickerel and His Praying Hands is about to take you on. Mark’s soft brooding vocals are like that of a soft spoken gentleman that has an aura of trust and experience. Some songs are faster than others, but the album flows really well. There is a lot of great music on this record.
Mark shows his comedic side with the song “Leaving with the Swamptones” as he tours from church to church throughout the country looking for pretty girls. “First stop is gonna be Charlotte. I’ll just bet she’s hot”. As Brian Chidester (Editor in Cheif of Dumb Angel Magazine) so aptly put it, ” ‘Last Leaves’ is a song the Neil Young wishes he wrote”. Religion and relationships are very thematic throughout the record and that can relate to everyone in any faction of life. We have all experienced one or the other, if not both, but we can’t put words to it. Luckily, we have people like Pickerel to do it for us. I highly recommend this album to anyone who likes good music and a good time.