Americana singer/songwriter Mark Erelli made a nice splash when he appeared on the music scene in 1999 with an eponymous debut from Signature Sounds. Critics from Billboard to the Boston Herald sang the musician's praises, and the Kerrville New Folk Contest named him top dog in its competition. Erelli followed up two years later with the album Compass & Companion, drawing more accolades as well as a pair of nominations from the Boston Music Awards. Kelly Willis appeared on the album, singing with Erelli on the title song. Erelli supported the new release with numerous shows and festival appearances across the U.S., including Alaska. He also has shared the stage with such like-minded artists as Gillian Welch, Dave Alvin, Buddy and Julie Miller, and John Hiatt.
Erelli went on to release The Memorial Hall Recordings in 2002, an album of original material and traditional tunes that he recorded in a Civil War-era hall in Massachusetts. Recording sessions were wrapped up in less than a week without the aid of overdubs or other modern enhancements. Hillbilly Pilgrim arrived in 2004, and Hope & Other Casualties followed two years ago. The latter album featured a cover of Ron Sexsmith's "God Loves Everyone" as well as instrumental contributions from producer Lorne Entress, who played seven instruments; Erelli played the remaining 11. After touring in support of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's "Soul 2 Soul" tour, Erelli returned to the studio for Delivered, his seventh album for the Signature Sounds label. ~ Linda Seida