Sometimes it occurs to me that I’m a lucky man. I suppose there are many reasons why I could say that, but the one that sticks out in my mind today is that I keep running into Mark Pickerel at the airport. As long-time readers may recall, Mark Pickerel is one of my favorite Seattle-area musicians; he occasionally performs at Sea-Tac as part of the airport’s Experience the City of Music program. I don’t know how often he participates in the program, but last Wednesday was the third time our airport schedules have overlapped. As far as I’m concerned, walking around the terminal and suddenly hearing Mark Pickerel singing to passersby is pretty much the best thing that can happen at an airport.
Here he is out in front of the Sub Pop store on the day before Thanksgiving:
Setlist: … / Be Here to Love Me (Townes Van Zandt) / Chim Chim Cher-ee (from Mary Poppins) / Forest Fire / Let Me Down Easy / She’s Got Wheels / Man Overboard / Dance Me to the End of Love (Leonard Cohen) / Graffiti Girl / Your Avenue / I’ll Wait / Essence (Lucinda Williams) / Don’t Look Back / This Strange Effect (Ray Davies)–>Back to Black (Amy Winehouse) / House of the Rising Sun (trad.) / …
Much like the other times I saw him, Mark played a mix of original material and cover songs. Highlights for me included “Graffiti Girl” from his first solo album on Bloodshot, a brand new story song called “She’s Got Wheels”, and a two song medley of “This Strange Effect” and “Back to Black”. The Ray Davies’ song was basically a request after I’d seen the title on the big setlist sheet sitting by the microphone stand and asked Mark about it.
As always, Mark was very approachable and willing to chat in between songs. We briefly talked about the new song, what it’s like to perform at an airport, and I even made a joke about $5 hugs that initially went over well…until we thought about it and realized that I was sort of calling him a prostitute. I tried to make up for it by giving him a bag of quarters as I was leaving. I’m not sure that really helped.