Mark Seymour

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"Don't you know me?" Mark Seymour sings imploringly, almost quizzically. It's an appropriate question, title and song for the first single from Seymour's second solo album One Eyed Man.

It's also an appropriate question Mark Seymour might ask of his audience. True, Seymour was for fifteen years the face and the voice of Hunters & Collectors, but now that he's going out as a solo artist, Seymour himself accedes, it's as if he's starting from scratch all over again.

Following his successful 1997 debut solo album King Without a Clue, Festival Mushroom Records will release Mark Seymour's second solo offering, One Eyed Man, in the new year.

It's a further and more accomplished step in a solo career that was never, perhaps surprisingly, a fait accompli. When Seymour recorded King Without a Clue 'on the fly' in 1996, Hunters & Collectors still hadn't actually broken up. At the time, the band was taking a sabbatical, and it was only when they reconvened they decided to record one last album (1998's Juggernaut), play a final national tour and then call it quits.

Naturally it was a challenge for Seymour to step outside what was becoming the confines of Hunters & Collectors, but ultimately his confidence was greatly boosted by the response to King Without a Clue, which put him back on airwaves the Hunters hadn't graced for years. And so when the band did officially end, Seymour picked up where King Without a Clue left off ...

No longer having the volume or scale of a touring band like Hunters, Mark has been able to gig prolifically in his home town of Melbourne over the last couple of years. A change from the 7 piece set up, as a solo artist Mark was able to focus on fundamentals like singing, and the songs themselves.

Seymour developed different formats, from solo-acoustic to small combos. "It was liberating," he says, "getting my head around how many different ways there are to roll a wheel down a hill!" Accumulating a core of musicians around him - drummers Peter Maslen and Tony Floyd, bassist James Kempster and keyboardist Rob Davies - in 1999 he started going into the studio again (Sing-Sing) and putting down just a few songs at a time with producer Daniel Denholm (Cruel Sea, etc).

Yet even as One Eyed Man came together in this gradual fashion, it emerges finally as a coherent and penetrating whole. Seymour believes that great songs create a mood, a space of their own, and that they take the listener on a journey that has a beginning, middle and end, and just as the individual songs on One Eyed Man all do that, so too does the album as a whole. "I think with this second album, there's a lot more accuracy. It's more lucid, clear and accurate. In every respect."

"Don't You Know Me?" is just one of 12 journey's on 'One Eyed Man'. It is a tender investigation of a man haunted by lost love, of the embers that still burn even if unnoticed. It is characteristic of an album of varied texture and tone but which consistently revolves around the theme of love lost and found as a part of life's on-going search for belonging.


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