Diesel’s latest release ‘Americana’ may be a covers album but it has his fingerprints all over it.
From his parents’ wedding photo that adorns the cover, to the original opening track that sets up the album as a tribute to the Lizotte family’s journey from America to Australia, ‘Americana’ features other musicians’ tracks but it’s as personal as they come.
“The whole thing is kind of a piece of folk history for me, about my family and the songs that were being played in my house growing up,” Mark Lizotte (aka Diesel) said.
“A lot of the album tracks I remember from spending time in America so they have that soundtrack quality for big chunks of my life.
“It ended up as being almost a musical biography.”
Moving to Australia in 1971 was a big risk for Mark’s parents to take, especially during a time when little was known about Australian culture.
“In their minds they didn’t have many references, apart from knowing there’s kangaroos,” Mark laughed.
“So it was very odd for my parents to just pick up and move all of us out here. There wasn’t an awful lot of that going on where we lived, I can tell you that.”
Laced with memories of his home country, the album features some of music’s biggest names with Mark putting his own unique spin on tracks including ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash and ‘Rave On’ by Buddy Holly.
“My intention with a lot of the songs on the album was just to kind of give them a different treatment, take them almost to another part of the country,” he said.
“Like for instance with James Taylor’s ‘Fire and Rain’ I imagined giving it a Memphis sort of feel.”
But it was the iconic American anthem ‘Born to Run’ by Bruce Springsteen that was one of the toughest, and most rewarding, tracks for Mark to reinterpret.
“I’m glad I decided to step up and have a go,” he said.
“It could have been easy to walk away from it and there’s a plethora of songs that would have filled that hole.
“I just thought I’m really fond of it and why not have a go at it, just because it’s such a taboo thing I didn’t see why I shouldn’t at least try.”
Diesel will be performing tracks from ‘Americana’ at Rooty Hill RSL on Friday, September 23 at 8pm. Tickets are $40. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.rootyhillrsl.com.au or call 9677 4916.