Famous Photog Mark Seliger Makes His Mark On Country Music
If you don’t know Mark Seliger’s music, you would recognize his photography. Seliger worked for Rolling Stone from 1992 to 2002 and is responsible for some of rock’s most famous cover photos; Jakob Dylan, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gillian Welch, and Lenny Kravitz have all sat in front of Seliger’s lens. And many of those artists helped him to fulfill another artistic pursuit when he decided to trade his camera for a guitar. Encouraged by his many musical colleagues and friends, Seliger started writing country songs. He put together an all-star band called Rusty Truck and released his first album, 2003’s Broken Promises, at the age of forty-nine. With contributions from some music’s finest players, Luck’s Changing Lanes followed in 2008.
Seliger grew up in Houston where he developed a taste for great songwriters like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard. Often categorized as country, Rusty Truck’s newest release Kicker Town has some fiddle and twang but stays true to the genre of singer-songwriter with its well-crafted lyrics and character driven storylines. “Good As Gone” is a standout with a Cajun shuffle, an incredible pedal-steel solo by Eric Heywood (of Son Volt and Joe Henry) and fiddle licks. “All Good” is fun and light-hearted and “Hold The Mayo” is a clever and poignant duet between a waitress (as sung by Kristin Mooney) and her customer. Seliger says, “Songwriting for me is like therapy. Photography is not dissimilar. It’s very therapeutic to write my way out of difficult times.” For all of the upbeat tracks, Kicker Town doesn’t fail to take you on a musical journey that is emotionally dynamic. The fourth track, “Beautiful Pain” is a striking and bare ballad.
For Mark Seliger, “the intersection between visual art and music is very important.” Kicker Town is accompanied on iTunes with an ebook, containing videos, photographs from Seliger’s archive, and a prose reading by Will Ferrell. As an artist, to have success in more than one medium is unusual and celebrates a real depth of insight and skill. So the next time you’re thumbing through your favorite celebrity photographs, cue up Kicker Town or any other album by Rusty Truck and you’ll have the rare experience of enjoying both a picture and a thousand words.