Other Sellers on Amazon
Alive at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Until it closed in 2009, Tennessee's Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was one of the most notorious penal institutions in America. Located in mountainous Petros, it was a forbidding rockpile hewn out of the rough countryside by its own inmates in 1896.
On Oct. 17, 2001, Mark Collie came to Brushy Mountain with a sheaf of newly written songs about crime and punishment and an all-star band for a pair of performances that were recorded for a live album release. Mostly, though, Collie showed up at Brushy Mountain with a mission.
God gave me the opportunity to get in there and share something that might make a difference, he says. I believed the songs could matter. I wanted to make something that people could find hope in, or redemption, or restoration, or forgiveness.
His close friendship with country icon Johnny Cash supplied the principal inspiration for his own prison recording. Collie was well aware of Cash's celebrated 1968-69 live albums recorded at California's Folsom and San Quentin penitentiaries. He also knew the impact that a 1959 performance at the latter facility had on Inmate #A-45200, better known as the legendary country star Merle Haggard. Without Johnny going to San Quentin, Collie says, there might not have been a Merle Haggard. A lot of lives were changed or made better as a result of that music. Collie began writing his own cycle of prison songs.
A top-flight crew of musicians was assembled, including guitarist Dave Grissom (John Mellencamp, Joe Ely), keyboardist Mike Utley (Jimmy Buffett, the Dixie Flyers), guitarist-mandolinist Tommy Burroughs (Memphis Riverbluff Clan), Collie's longtime accordionist Hassel Tekkle, bassist Willie Weeks (the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, B.B. King), drummer Chad Cromwell (Neil Young, Mark Knopfler), and guitarist-fiddler-vocalist and solo star Shawn Camp. Austin-based critics darling Kelly Willis, who takes lead vocals on two tracks, also supplied backup vocals on several numbers; the late Texas blues giant Clarence Gatemouth Brown is the album's other special guest.
Alive at Brushy Mountain embraces a breadth of American styles - country,
blues, gospel, bluegrass, and rock n roll. It largely comprises striking original material, which contemplates the convict's lot with compassion, keen detail, and sometimes boisterous humor.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
There are 14 tracks here, including songs that Collie both wrote and sings, but it’s not all Collie here. He gets some vocal help (and songwriting credit too) from Shawn Camp and there are three wonderful tracks featuring Kelly Willis as the solo voice. Blues guitar/viola plater Clarence “Gatemounth “ Brown has one track all to his own.
As noted by a few other reviewers already, the sound is great and the whole show entertaining. If you don’t have this album already and are a Collie fan, I think you’ll want this. If you own it already I’m not sure it’s an upgrade.(Then again, I haven’t seen the previous releases.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful,
Mark Collie & His Reckless Companions
"Alive At Brushy Mountain State Penitentary"
This is a sizzling live set from hard-country singer Mark Collie, a guy who had a few Top Ten hits in the early 1990s, but fell off the radar by decade's end. Originally recorded in 2001, this is one of those recorded-in-prison concert albums that country dudes love to make and fans love to hear. Collie, in full roughneck mode, really connects with the inmates as does Kelly Willis who sings backup as well as a couple of solo numbers. If you like real-deal, rugged, rough-edged, rootsy country music, then check this album out. Also, it's got great sound quality for a live show, courtesy of Tony Brown, one of Nashville's all-time best record producers, known for his bright, clear, punchy mixes. Trust me: this is a great record. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To Country Music)
I don't know how I obtained a copy of this, but it differs from this one. Mine was left in a car that my dad bought used and when I saw this, knowing who Mark Collie was, I had to give it a listen. It blew me away and still does.
It's worth noting that two tracks are omitted from the Amazon version: Shackles and Chains and Good Ol Boys. Both are stellar and both feature Tim McGraw on vocals. The former being written loosely based upon Tim's incident with a horse in New York City. Without these the album will be most incomplete.
These songs are real and stick with you. One highlight is the last verse in Could've Gone Right where the prisoner is about to be executed. In just those short lines, Collie sums up the harrowing experience paired with this rollicking country beat.This and others where the inmates reaction to the music is clearly heard on the recording will have you on the edge of your seat listening to every note and every word. The band is top notch and the mix quality puts you right in the middle of the crowd. Collie didn't just want to perform for these inmates, he wanted to communicate with them and give them their voice, too. It's awesome.