Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

LOCAL SCENE [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

LOCAL SCENE [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

Dignam Re-Builds live

* Mark Dignam was struggling to bring his latest record to life, partly because he was in the midst of a divorce and didn't feel like fussing over studio versions of songs.

He had been working on the songs and says some of them were shaping up, but the divorce was the hardest thing he'd been through and "I couldn't concentrate on being Mr. Meticulous Studio Guy.' "

So, the Irish folk-rocker, who came to Pittsburgh from Dublin in 2000, came up with a bold idea.

"I went to the guys at Treelady [Studios] and I said, 'Look, I'm tired of wrestling with this album. I'm going to bring an audience in, a couple of kegs of beer and just do it.' They took a sharp uptake of breath and said, 'OK, let's try it.' So we banged it out in one night, in mostly first takes. It was very much throwing it into the wind, throwing everything into the wind. The band been playing the songs for a bit, but it was a bit nerve-wracking, I must say."

The result is "Re-Build," his first album since 2005's "Box Heart Man." The spare acoustic "Red is the Sky" sets a tone with love (and a barn) going up in flames. From there, he tackles relationships in this thick Irish brogue with a band that rattles and jangles.

"A lot of my songs had been delving into relationships lately, love and love lost, and basically when that all hit the fan," he says of the divorce. "To some degree, subconsciously, the album went in that direction even though I was trying for it not to. I didn't want it to be my divorce album, and it isn't and it is at the same time, if that makes any sense."

While "Re-Build" has its share of heartbreak ("I Thought Love Would Win," "Guilty"), there are rays of light that stream though, like "Build" and "My Butterfly."

"You know, life is hard," he says, "Relationships are hard, but it's all about getting up the next day. …

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