Guitar strings and more, wonderfully arranged by Mark Doyle

Mark Doyle and band Friday night at the Auburn Public Theater.

Mark Doyle and band Friday night at the Auburn Public Theater.

I had a vivid dream last night, in color and stereo.

I was in a 200-seat theater filled with people thrilled to be there on a Friday night, smack dab in the proud little upstate New York city of Auburn.

The air was charged by wonderful music set forth by the guitar and mind of a neat, floppy-haired guy by the name of Mark Doyle. I could tell he was the one in charge not only because he told stories about the songs the marvelous collection of musicians he put together played, but by the way he commanded their respect with his presence, leadership and talent, too.

I couldn’t believe the manner in which he’d gotten his guitarist and bassist and drummer and string section to play the songs from his album “Guitar Noir: In Dreams.” They were as technically precise as a studio session.

The arrangement of these songs that this veteran musician carefully put together for these two sets of music — yes, this was one long and pleasant dream — made me very happy. Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” which closed the first set, even gave me one of those am I dreaming or am I awake moments. But my dear wife Karen and my great friend Dave and his girlfriend Sue walked out into a hallway to chat after that, so, yeah … The string section was done after the first set, but that allowed my mind to focus more intently on the core band during the second. During “Warmth of the Sun,” the classic beach song from Brian Wilson and Mike Love, I was mesmerized by Doyle and second guitarist Terry Quill intently mirroring each other on that pristine, familiar, melodic lead line.

I thrilled at how this Central New Yorker’s four original compositions stood up in this jazzy, dreamy, bluesy, earthy, soulful parade of classic music.

The finishing one-two-three punch of The Doors’ “The Crystal Ship,” the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” slapped me upside the head about how good bassist Edgar Pagan, keyboardist Bill DiCosimo and percussionist Josh Dekaney meshed with Doyle on this special, two-show live project to showcase the songs from his three-album soundscape “Guitar Noir” “Out of the Past” and “In Dreams.”

Hey, I felt that slap!

It wasn’t a dream at all.

I had really talked to M&T Jazz Fest founder and executive director Frank Malfitano about how this was one of the best live nights of Central New York local music, ever.

That second set of this Guitar Noir project comes July 11 at Malfitano’s fest on the campus of Onondaga Community College.

Here’s just a short video to give you a taste, the start of last night’s take of the classic “Mr. Sandman,” shot from my iPhone 4, from my seat.

What has been the best live music show you’ve seen so far this year? Do you enjoy new arrangements of classic songs? What is your favorite cover of a classic? What is the next live show you plan to attend?

50 thoughts on “Guitar strings and more, wonderfully arranged by Mark Doyle

  1. Can’t answer any of your questions but “Paint it Black” is without question one of the greatest songs ever. Of course, being a die-hard Stones fan does not bias me at all…


  2. I’M BACK MARK. Let ’em know, Please???? I’m trying to find my old followers, and thanks for all the new ones you sent my way. I finally think I got it almost right. Still don’t know for sure, but it’s getting there.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Diane, my most memorable concert was Santana more years ago than I care to admit–awesome! Great telling of the concert, Mark, felt like I was there. Thanks for promoting all our wonderful CNY talent! 🙂


  4. I love the post and the clip, Mark. Bravos!

    My favorite live music performance this year was Pat Metheny. I do enjoy hearing new arrangements of classic songs … if they’re good. (Otherwise, they piss me off.) My favorite cover of a classic is … Bobby Darin’s cover of Weill and Brecht’s “Mack the Knife.”


    • Bobby D’s version of the Three-Penny Opera classic is my go-to karaoke song, Ann, so I am in agreement with you there. It’s so much better than Sinatra’s version, even, and I’m a huge Sinatra fan. I think you would like the three Mark Doyle albums from which he stocked the the music for this live show. It would fit the Metheny sensibility.


  5. how wonderful and it sounds great! so lucky you have a great music scene there, and i’m happy that it was all real and not a dream. last concert i saw here that i loved was vienna teng, who lived here for a bit, an interesting story and wonderful talent. next up? who knows? i’m open –


    • I think you need to see some more of those special folk who live the festival neighborhood in Ann Arbor, Beth. Backyard and porch shows summer long, if you can talk them into it! Mark Doyle here is a great one, jazz, blues, rock and soul!


  6. Mark B: Thank you for being not only a strong supporter of local music, but of being a fan, and voice for those musicians! Having had the pleasure of working with you on a few things in the past, and knowing how deep your commitment is to your craft, it’s just great to see you still on the scene, and continuing to educate and entertain us with your talents. Thank you for EVERY effort you have ever made to allow musicians in the CNY scene to be found, recognized, heard, seen and appreciated. Without ‘voices’ in the press, and standards that are set high, we’d all be left with less. Thank you for being there, sorry I missed you, and I’m glad that i was in such good company, and that we all felt exactly the same way about this amazing night of music! Mark hit a home run with this concept, the band, the strings, the whole package and to HEAR what came off of the stage last night was chillingly good.


    • Thank you, tb. Your kind words mean the world to me. Mark Doyle put together a master piece, as artfully beautiful as it was technically precise. That’s a rare and delightful combination.


  7. Haven’t seen a live show in ages Mark. Still working on the new blog, trying to get a gravatar to show up on the front page, but not much luck there. I forgot if I remember if they have changed the way it’s done or if I have lost more brain cells, but it’s just not showing up the way it used to do. Going nutz here, but I’m gonna make it for the third time. KENTUCKY will win again, and this angel will fly.


  8. I run sound for Mark often with the maniacs, so I am very familiar with his work.. last night was a part of Marks work that most of us seldom get to see and hear. The show was amazing !! For me the first half was so interesting the way he arranged the strings. It was a night I’ll never forget, all the players were great!! Can you say talent talent talent !!!!


  9. Haven’t been to a live show in a long time, but the last concert I went to was Santana and Carlos always blows me out of the water!

    When I was younger, there was a club called La Moustache in Montreal and often when a band came to play at the Forum, they would do a surprise set at La Moustache where there was no cover charge. I saw the Moody Blues, Steppen Wolf and other greats there. The club burned down many years ago now but oh what memories. Still kicking myself that I missed The Stones there but hey I was under-aged anyway. Back then the drinking age seemed to be merely a suggestion in Quebec where I grew up!

    Diana xo


  10. Thanks so much Mark for the kind words, wonderful review and support! It was a magical evening and we appreciate you being there! Peace.


  11. I was looking forward to this concert featured in your preview review! Sounds like a fantastic and awesome concert, Mark! I would give Mark Doyle and his band a standing O!!


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