Young Minnesotan singer-songwriter John Mark Nelson has accomplished more in 21 years than some artists do in a lifetime. The fresh-faced, Minneapolitan multi-instrumentalist has already released two critically acclaimed folk albums, and now the “Boy” wonder has a third, I’m Not Afraid, on the way—that’s where “Control” comes in.
“‘Control’ is one of the fundamental anthems of this record,” Nelson says. “It speaks honestly and openly about the chaos that life can contain. Even when we try our hardest to manage and calculate the many facets of our lives, often times things spin out of control, and leave us to pick up the pieces.” And though “Control” may be rooted in chaos, its composition is anything but.
The song is a concise and plaintive confession, powered by an understated yet driving thrum of drums and bass, with Nelson’s fragile vocal layered over top. “In the past, what might have influenced me was a lot of acoustic instruments—folkier, jangly sounds,” the singer says. “But I was pulled into the songs being driven by drums and bass and more adventurous guitar tones.”
Ironically, “Control” finds Nelson during a transition period in which he is letting go, opening up and leaving his old approach to songwriting behind. “I think if anything, this project—maybe even more so than a sonic departure—is a vulnerability departure,” he says. “In the past my writing has, in some ways, been guarded. Now I’m putting all my cards on the table.”
Nelson’s I’m Not Afraid comes out Sept. 11 on GNDWIRE Records. Check out Nelson’s tour dates—which are soon to be expanded—below.
John Mark Nelson Tour Dates
14 – Somerset, Wis. @ Summer Set Festival
11 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Avenue