Album Review: Mark Jones & Twenty Paces – “Breaking Even”

mjIf you’re looking for a new Texas band to get in to, you don’t need to look any further. I had the privilege of previewing Mark Jones & Twenty Pace’s debut album “Breaking Even” and can’t seem to get to one of their live shows fast enough.

Written almost entirely by Jones himself and produced by Jeffery Armstreet, the album offers 12 tracks full of impeccable songwriting, extraordinary music, and fantastic vocals. Offering Country, Americana, a touch Bluegrass, and flashes of Rock, this album has something for every Texas music listener.

The first track that came through my speakers was the album’s debut single, “Fast and Free”. Currently sitting at #80 on the Texas Regional Radio Report, the song is fun, fast-paced and gives the listener a sense of adventure. It describes the joys of being carefree as a kid: forts, pennies on the railroad tracks, and riding bikes, then as a teenager: girls and cars. Jones’ vocals immediately catch your attention , and then does a great job of using the music to build the story. It brings the nostalgia of a time when we were “living for the day the only way we knew, wild eyed, fast and free”.

From there, the album presented a good range of stories. In “Love Again”, Jones offers a different perspective on the most popular kind of song in Texas music: the heartbreak song. Instead of one of sadness and destruction, it describes the perseverance through heartbreak. This take is refreshing and Jones offers a couple additional viewpoints on the matter in the title track “Breaking Even” and “Who’s to Blame”. The record balances out heartbreak melodies, with upbeat tracks about the beauty of nature (Mountains) and one of our favorite tracks on the album, “Lead Foot”; a song about following life’s dreams and the obstacles that may occur with life on the road – sometimes you know where you want to be …but you’re not sure how you’re going to get there.

Jones continues to demonstrate his superior songwriting skills on “Would You” and “What’s the Point” and his ability to connect with the emotions of the listener through “Austin” and “Falling from Grace”.

Our *PICKS* on the album are:
THIS TIME – The song starts with an acoustic guitar and Jones’ amazing vocals, from there, the music builds and so does the song. If you want to hear the talent and song writing ability of this band, this is THE track to listen to. This is OUR favorite song , and a damn good one !

HOME TONIGHT- Our second favorite track is one of the only true love songs on the album. It describes the feeling of being in love and wanting to take things to the next level. It perfectly captures the emotion of those nights, where you just can’t help but be engulfed in the elation of having someone who “shining like diamonds in [your] eyes.” You’re going to LOVE* this song .

Overall, we are very impressed with “Breaking Even”, especially with it being the debut album. It comes out May 27th, and is already generating a buzz through their promo video. We encourage you to call your radio stations and request the single “Fast and Free”. Be on the lookout for Mark Jones & Twenty Paces in the summer of 2014 !


Author: Chris Fox

Music addict, a sucker for heartbreak songs, and avid Houston sports fan! I'am also the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Music Pickers.

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