By day, Mark McNeil is a mild-mannered reporter for The Hamilton Spectator. At night, he jumps into a phone booth, dons a hat, grabs a guitar and emerges as Mark McNeil, singer-songwriter extraordinaire…  McNeil‘s music is about Hamilton.

–Graham Rockingham, music editor for The Hamilton Spectator

Shiny Things and Other Distractions, the new album by singer-songwriters Mark McNeil and Kris Rochard, certainly lives up to its name. Not only does it come in a shiny tin case adorned with a shiny steel guitar, but the songs are as diverting as shiny things are to a magpie…

The album is a bit of a pastiche, and each song evokes a different, eclectic influence…a journey through something bluesy, mixed with adult contemporary and tied together with an alternative country rock twang…Whatever your musical tastes, there’s a track on here you can appreciate as the title song says, “Shiny things / call out to you / shiny things / no matter what you do / shiny things / shine on you.”

–Cynthia McQueen, Metro News Toronto

Hamilton singer/songwriter Mark McNeil and Toronto’s Kris Rochard (both formerly of the Lowest Lanes) have teamed up for an amazing CD, Shiny Things and Other Distractions. Mark’s usual roots/country sound is enhanced by Kris’ more modern pop-like sensibilities. Her sultry voice is a great contrast to Mark’s rougher vocals. This combination gives the disc an eclectic, energetic feel. Shiny Things weaves in and out of genres with ease. We have the funkiness of the title track, the country sounds of Outlaw of Love and the softer feel of Sunny Days With You (a runner-up in the International Song of the Year competition).

–Hamilton Blues Blog

Southern Ontario’s Mark McNeil and Kris Rochard have recorded one of my favourites of 2012. They have taken a huge step forward with this album! Great songs lead the way on this one. With a bluesy / folk-rock feel, this collection of originals showcases their insight and sensitive side. As well, their well-tuned harmonies and varied strengths as lead singers shine through. An A+ on this one!!!

Jim Marino, Freewheeling Folk Show – 93.3 CFMU Hamilton.

Comments about Sunny Days with You
Was a semi-finalist in the prestigious 2011 Song of the Year Awards, a major American-based songwriting competition that attracts entries from around the world.

(The song) Sunny Days with You mixes Rochard and McNeil’s harmonies to perfection. The result is a melody that could easily find a home on a soundtrack.

–Cynthia McQueen, Metro News Toronto

Comments about Old Mexico
At the Songwriters’ Association of Canada Songposium 2012

I was thinking of who could cover this song and I thought of Jim Cuddy for some reason…I really liked the song. It was a great song. It took me to that place…I quite liked it. I would enjoy the performance this way or another way. This is a very good song so much that I could imagine various interpretations of it…Good work.

— Bobby Gale, music industry veteran, formerly of Polygram Records

I did like the vocal delivery…I think it is really good song that could very much appeal to a Tom Petty kind of a crowd. Good song.

— Brian Thompson, Vancouver based music industry entrepreneur, record label owner, artist manager, marketing consultant

I did enjoy it a lot…it’s a great song.

— Ayah, singer-songwriter

I must say that was my favourite so far on this panel…That chorus is strong… It made me think of Cowboy Junkies.

— Suzie McNeil, singer-songwriter, performer and judge on YTV’s The Next Star.




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