Relaxed, poignant, and polished alternative country is the brand of the Phillip Island singer and songwriter Mark Howard, and it is a brand that’s in full swing on his latest release, the stunning ‘Scarlette’. A weighted and immediate single that’s loaded with melancholy and calculated restraint.

On ‘Scarlette’, the Aussie islander is brandishing a strong songwriting talent that sees the rolling waves blended with the sound of the breeze brushing through tropical leaves, through a minimalistic arrangement that utilizes its few components in exquisite ways. From the slow, brooding tempo to the tremolo-ed, overdriven guitars, ‘Scarlette’ drips with a calm and collected nature that sweetly brushes against the melancholic chord sequences and emotionally hefty words. About love and grief, ‘Scarlette’ took Mark Howard a moment of clarity to start, but years to perfect. 

As a songwriter, Howard is more inclined to write songs that elicit feelings in listeners, rather than directing clear-worded messages, he is more at home staying ambiguous and letting the words paint a picture along with the lush arrangements he comes up with, backed by his powerful and approachable delivery of the words, and his intricate guitar work, then add a tight production to these elements, a mix that knows where to go and what to do, and the results are spectacular. 

Inspired by the captivating wilderness that surrounds him, Howard’s music is elegant and contains an expert restraint that makes every bar, every guitar line, and every sentence carry just enough weight to shine. A capable songwriter and a beautifully crafted song.