Mark Erelli Releases New LP ‘Lay Your Darkness Down’

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Mark Erelli has released his new album, Lay Your Darkness Down, today via Soundly Music. Erelli created the powerful LP in the wake of being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (“RP”) – a devastating, degenerative eye disease that leads to blindness.

“When he realized RP would undoubtedly affect the usual recording process – putting him in an unfamiliar space with lots of knobs and expensive gear – he reevaluated.” Instead, he began to experiment with a recording style inspired by ELO’s Jeff Lynne, who produced artists like Paul McCartney, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, mapping each instrument’s part and then recording them individually.

Eventually, he began to focus more on the emotional impact of what the songs were trying to tell him: Use adversity to fuel hope and creativity. Hold on to a child-like sense of wonder. Focus on the present moment before it flies by unwitnessed. Acknowledge and move past the fear of the toll RP might take on his roles as a husband and father.

Anxious and agitated when thinking of his impending loss of independence, Erelli recalled a conversation with Joe Henry, the famously philosophical singer-songwriter/record producer who told him that an artist’s job is not to avoid but rather to delve into the darkness – and, with this album, that is what he has done. Now, he’s on a mission to increase awareness about RP and blindness and to relay how important music is in processing and healing trauma.

The album is more than a collection of affirmations and optimism in the face of despair; it is a clarion call for anyone lost in the shadows. Yet Erelli doesn’t proclaim any easy answers for how to navigate the unknown. Instead, he squarely examines question after question, reveling in mysteries both great and small. He reminds us in the title track that our deepest challenges are more than a simple test of our endurance—they ultimately help us chart our course.

“In some strange way, my disease has provided me with the chance to truly live what I sing. Sharing my diagnosis is my way of laying down my own darkness,” he says. “By making my private struggles public, maybe it helps others to see that we all have a choice. We can be overwhelmed by the shadows, or use them to show where the light is coming from. As for me, no matter what happens, I’ll forever be looking for the light.”

3/2 – Flying Goose Brew Pub – New London, NH
3/3 – The Music Hall Lounge – Portsmouth, NH
3/4 – Burnham Hall – Lincoln, VT
3/5 – Caffè Lena – Saratoga Springs, NY
3/8 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI
3/9 – The Bur Oak -Madison, WI
3/10 – CSPS Hall – Cedar Rapids, IA
3/11 – Stone Arch Brewpub – Appleton, WI
3/23 – Jamestown Arts Center – Jamestown, RI*
3/24 – Crystal Ballroom – Somerville, MA*
3/25 – The Parlor Room – Northampton, MA*
3/31 – Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) – NY, NY*
4/1 – World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA*
4/2 – Jammin Java – Vienna, VA^
* with support from Jobi Riccio
^ co-bill with Elizabeth & the Catapult