When the news broke that Prince suddenly passed away, I could barely comprehend what I was hearing, seeing or feeling. The looks on people’s faces mirrored mine; intense sadness, and a sense of “what now?” All around the world, people flocked to places that best suited their methods of mourning and celebrating his life. I found myself inside Bowery Ballroom with John Mark Nelson, a Minnesota based singer-songwriter, which felt appropriate.
Playing to a sold-out crowd, John Mark and his 4-piece of Kara Laudon on keys/vocals, Steve Bosmans on electric guitar, Josh Fink on bass guitar/vocals, and Nate Babbs on drums, delivered a set that we all needed to hear. Spirited, youthful and celebratory, the sentiment in the room that night was one of joy, not sorrow. His words and voice seemed slip into the parts of us that were aching and helped to soothe that pain.
Nelson and his band earned healthy rounds of applause after singing “After All I’ve Done,” “Dream Last Night,” and “That’s What You Do,” from his 2015 release, I’m Not Afraid. He also made sure to allow time for Kara Laudon to showcase her beautiful vocals on a song. The night reached its cathartic peak when John Mark, stating that he was “perhaps the most unqualified person to sing this song” covered “Purple Rain” to honor Prince before he left the stage.
Personally, I hadn’t been able to listen to the song since the few hours of his passing, but on that stage bathed in purple lights, John Mark made the song his own for those few moments, plus a lavish guitar solo from Steve Bosmans, he delivered the song at a time we needed to hear it, possibly as much as he needed to sing it. Heartfelt, honest and fearless, it left me with a bright spot on an otherwise bleak day.
Article: Lesley Keller