Photo by Carolyn McCoy
Mark Vickness is as well rounded and polished of a musician as they come. Decades of recordings, compositions, arrangements and performances have brought Vickness to where he is as both an accomplished solo artist and one half of the duo Glass House. Mark is prepared to release his second solo album Interconnected later this year, the follow up to 2018’s Places. The album was recorded at 25th Street Recording in Oakland, CA and Mark had the brilliant idea to shoot a live performance of a song during the sessions.
“Hot Apple Stuff”, is Vickness' Tiny Desk Submission and an ode to his mother, a former white house chef, and her cooking. Aptly named after the classic combo of apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, "Hot Apple Stuff" is a compelling and mystical roots-folk song that has an optimistic, traveler’s spirit. Vickness is joined by his rustic band and finds himself standing off to the side on stage right showcasing the talent of the ensemble as a whole.
The song has a jazz like structure with each member of the quintet taking their turn in the limelight but maintains its strong folk influence throughout. Each instrument also takes on different roles as most start out in a percussive manner and either move to a lead part, like the celtic violin riffs of Mads Tolling or a supportive one, like the bass playing by Ty Burhoe. The timbre of the music emulates the warmth of a perfectly proportionate bite of pie and ice cream. Coupled with the jubilant melodies throughout, listening to this song is similar to what one might experience after a bite if its namesake. "Hot Apple Stuff" is a beautiful arrangement to watch unfold in a live setting and really allows Vickness’ genius as an arranger and composer to present itself in an aesthetically pleasant setting.