In the same week he received an unprecedented five Outmusic Award nominations, singer-songwriter Mark Weigle released his fourth album, Different and the Same. Whereas in the past he has mostly showcased his original compositions, every song save one on this fifteen-track album is a cover. Lest anyone think this artistic backpedaling, the self-composed liner notes make abundantly clear the songs' relevance to his experience as a gay man who embraces both his queer identity and global interconnectedness.
The disc opens with Peggy Bertsch's "Hiding in the Stone," a heartfelt love song which uses the analogy of gay sculptor Michelangelo uncovering David within the stone to describe a lover's slow emergence from self-protective armor. The naked intimacy of voice and expression for which Weigle is prized is abundantly in evidence, providing impressive contrast with the "get down" Nashville sound he and co-arranger/multi-instrumental accompanist Kevin Harris bring to the next love song, Trisha Yearwood's spirited "What I Like About You." Weigle also gives new meaning to an '80s hit, Tommy Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny," here readdressed to Jimmy.
Weigle concludes with a recent live rendition of his own "Take Your Shoulder from the Wheel." Clearly, he's grown in his ability to voice the wisdom that motivates many of his lyrics. Different is an exceptionally beautiful album -- its national distribution should bring Weigle the acclaim he most certainly deserves.
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