MARK LITTLE – Imagine My Surprise
Stevens Point’s Mark Little is making quite a name for himself around the Fox Valley. His performances are drawing well and his music is receiving some regional airplay. Imagine My Surprise was released late in 2004 and has been earning some positive reviews and for good reason. This self-produced, five-song effort is sonically and musically rich, showcasing Little’s songwriting and vocal talents, which are considerable.
At times Little’s style drifts into dangerously overdone Jack Johnson territory, but there are several elements that make Imagine My Surprise stand out. Little’s vocals are forceful, confident and he exhibits impressive control. This is the sound of a musician who knows exactly what he wants. He’s also a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitars, keys and bass. “Imagine My Surprise,” the EP’s opener, is a brilliant piece of mid-tempo pop with a killer chorus, highlighted by Little’s overdubbed harmonies and sensational keyboards. The other standout track is “Too Far Gone,” in which drummer Ryan Biesback rocks it out with a big-time snare and an infectious groove.
Little also has a close association with the Fox Valley’s biggest name, the Cool Waters Band. Vocalist Greg Waters and keyboardist Shane Hardwicke (ex-Cool Waters Band, now in Hot Tractor) join in on “Wasted,” another outstanding track. Waters and Little just released a collaborative CD titled The Roots, which we expect to be reviewing quite soon, along with several other current releases coming out of the central portion of the state, an area that is becoming quite a hotbed of original talent. Imagine My Surprise makes a strong case for just how high the bar is being set.