Living the dream

Mark Cutler makes his escape
By CHRIS CONTI  |  December 11, 2013

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"DOING SOMETHING I LOVE" Cutler. [Photo by William Smyth]

Revered veteran musician Mark Cutler has officially escaped the cube farm, and he’s feeling like a billion bucks. He’s been a working musician for nearly 40 years and is an iconic fixture on the Lil Rhody music scene, from his days with the Schemers and the Raindogs to his current outfits, Men of Great Courage and the Tiny String Band. The singer/songwriter/six-string slinger just released another fantastic album, Dreamland (75orLess Records), the follow-up to 2012’s Sweet Pain. Mark will return to his favorite Jewelry District dive, Nick-a-Nee’s, for the official Dreamland release show on Friday.

Cutler’s brand of earnest roots-rock is scaled back this time around. He noted that he wrote “small songs about small things” and recorded in a home studio “the size of a postage stamp.” His exit from the rat race is prevalent on “Doing Things That We Like to Do” and “Too Much Fun.” He revs it up a bit and even plays drums on “Gonna Need My Help,” which he calls a “Yardbirds-type of raveup.” Dusty gems “Tankful of Gas” and “We Don’t Do That Stuff No More” dial up Dylan and Tom Petty, and the title track is a personal fave. Mark revealed a soft spot for the introspective “I’ll Play For You”:

“That one has a special place in my heart because every word is taken from real life — the first verse talks about the legendary Living Room. The second is taken directly from a memory of my second-grade schoolmate Geneva and how my eight-year-old heart yearned back then. The last verse is about one of my best friends, Mark Egan, who passed away a few years ago. We had a short-lived ritual where in the evenings we would walk down Park Avenue in Cranston, play our guitars and sing songs.”

Dreamland is Cutler’s third album for the Warren-based imprint 75orLess Records. Label founder Mark MacDougall says that Cutler helped pave the way for their increasingly eclectic roster.

“Mark Cutler deserves credit for expanding the types of music genres that the label is involved with. The first few years were strictly punk and hard rock albums, but after we released Red I was much more open to working with performers like Haunt the House, Allysen Callery, and others. Even if I stopped the label tomorrow, Mark is one of the best people I have crossed paths with, regardless of our music connection.”

Read our Q&A with Cutler below, and pick up Dreamland right now at 75orlessrecords.com.

What was your former day job, and how is it not working for The Man anymore? I was a quality assurance engineer — I tested software. It was a good job for awhile, but leaving was the best thing I’ve done in a long time. I initially took the job in order to be able to provide my son with health insurance and help pay for his education, and now that he is graduating it seemed like a good time to reboot my life. Not working for The Man gives me a wonderful feeling. I’m still working harder than ever, but it’s really nice to not dread Mondays. I’m making less dough but I feel like a billionaire.

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