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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Paul Mark & the Van Dorens Set to Release "Smartest Man in the Room" CD on May 22

PAUL MARK & the Van Dorens – Smartest Man in the Room
Ground-Breaking Follow Up to Blood & Treasure CD, Recorded in New Orleans and Memphis

NEW YORK, NY – Radiation Records announces a May 22 release date for Smartest Man in the Room by NYC-based PAUL MARK & the Van Dorens. A swirling hunk of steaming, industrial blues rock, Smartest Man was cut in New Orleans and in Memphis, and was co-produced by Paul Mark and Jeff Powell (Big Star, Stevie Ray Vaughan, B.B. King, etc.). It’s Mark’s ninth CD on NYC-based Radiation Records – the indie label owned by Paul Mark.

Make way, badass stuff coming thru! Go elsewhere if you’re jazzed by today’s featherweight TV-talent-show merry-go round. You won’t get this record.

Smartest Man in the Room is a roots-rock dynamite stick lobbed into today’s music-biz garbage culture cocktail party. This production assembles a whole new model of what today’s music can and should be. Raw and original, this set of thematically-connected blues-based performances jabs a thumb in the eye of not just the music industry – yeah, easy target – but it goes after the big boys, the NYC and LA 1% who hold court over what can and can’t be said in the cultural marketplace. Fasten your frayed seat belt – the cats in charge are going to freak when they hear – and see – Smartest Man. As will first-time listeners to Paul Mark. Even the smart ones.

Check out the warehouse ambience. The right-into-the-ditch guitar solos. That 3:00 am-cigarettes-and-bourbon rhythm section. Smartest Man spills over with classic Americana grit and caveman, did-he-just-say-that lyrics that march right past all boundaries into provocation. Over it all, there’s Paul Mark’s well-travelled line of grizzled, urbane wit. Listen for a second…you’ll get it. Track highlights include:

1. Smartest Man in the Room – A Chicago-cum-Neanderthal finger-in-the-face right at corporate America.

2. Time Will Tell – A 2:30 Texas shuffle that swings just sooo right…Immediate and real. And live! Raw live!

3. When God Finds the Time – What’s that burning smell? Souls descending?…Leave your headshot at the front desk.

4. One More Coat of Paint – Instant sing-along classic, a mid-tempo 12-bar send-off to a foreclosed home – and a girl.

6. U Must Come 2 – Towering vocals commanding a too-raw-to-fathom 16-bar blues. Beyond over the top.

7. Wrist Rocket – Cement-mixer churn drives the fiery but wise guitar pyrotechnics, begging you to “spend a little time...”

And don’t miss the WTF-graphic design. Radiation Records recently won a prestigious gold medal from the highly-selective Society of Illustrators for the artwork on its previous release (Mark’s solo guitar CD, Mirage Cartography). Smartest Man’s graphics have set the bar even higher, with visuals guaranteed to set off your boorish born-again-something brother-in-law.

Praise for Paul Mark & the Van Dorens’ previous release (Blood & Treasure):

"Electrifying...Exceptional musicianship, witty songwriting, and a unique sound rooted in blues."

Michael Verity, Blues Revue Magazine

“A talented singer, guitarist and writer…[Mark’s] writing discloses a strong-minded wit and intelligence.”

Frank-John Handley, Downbeat Magazine

All Paul Mark music is available at, as well as at, and

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