FIVE FIRSTS: Mark Tolstrup of Street Corner Holler

November 12th, 2009, 2:38 pm by Greg

Street Corner Holler: Dale Haskell and Mark Tolstrup

Street Corner Holler: Dale Haskell and Mark Tolstrup

NAME: Mark Tolstrup
BAND AFFILIATION: Street Corner Holler (duo with Dale Haskell plus sometimes on those lucky occasions Tony Markellis)
INSTRUMENT: Slide Guitar


2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … Dave Van Ronk at Passim’s in Cambridge, Mass.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … Sears Silvertone guitar. Sweet sound. Unplayable neck.

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STREET CORNER HOLLER’s Street Corner Holler

October 13th, 2009, 3:06 pm by Greg

StreetCornerHoller(, 2009):

Over the top of some bold, slashing slide guitar and some hummin’ Hammond organ, Dale Haskell bellows “Don’t look down, there’s blood on the floor.”

When an album opens this way, you can feel in your bones that these guys mean business.

Saratoga Springs guitarist-singer Mark Tolstrup has unleashed some fine solo blues recordings over the years, but since teaming up with drummer-singer Haskell (of the blues ‘n’ more trio No Outlet), he’s taken the music up to the next level.

While the duo offers up plenty of blues heat, it’s not all slash ‘n’ burn stuff. There’s the funky, New Orleans-style gospel of “Glory, Glory” (with some wailing vocals from MotherJudge and beautiful bottom-end tuba by Dave Sokol). A gorgeous acoustic glide through Skip James’ “Hard Time Killin’ Floor,” a gritty, foot-stompin’ rendition of Son House’s “Preachin’ Blues” and, of course, the requisite Dylan cover (an ominous blues-burn through “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”).

But the bulk of the generous 14-song album comes from the pens of Tolstrup and Haskell, and their originals are what really make this album a standout. Tolstrup’s chugging resonator-fueled train tune “Empire State” is a highlight, as is Haskell’s haunting “Death Don’t Disappoint Me,” which resonates with echoes of Rodney Crowell’s best work.

Phish friend and bassist extraordianaire Tony Markellis anchors the whole deal and Sten Isachsen‘s mandolin adds just the right chiming touch. And it’s all wrapped up in a funky, folk-art cover painting by Michael Eck (of Ramblin Jug Stompers and the Lost Radio Rounders), which perfectly captures the dirt-under-our-fingernails, real-deal sound of “Street Corner Holler.”

Street Corner Holler gets down and bluesy at the Jonesville Store in Clifton Park at 6:30pm Friday, October 16. Admission is free.

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