Like many Hudson Valley residents, West Shokan’s Mark Donato left New York City in search of some space to do his thing. The space he sought was a garage and his thing is music. The garage, however, is more Replacements than Stooges, and I Haven’t Wasted All This Time Alone sprinkles pedal steel, mandolin, accordion, organ, and dobro over a bed of solid singer-songwriting. But don’t let the instrumentation trick you too far down Folk Lane: Even though there are folk nuances, this isn’t the time to smell the flowers and then put them in your hair. The record’s tone, alternating between earnest and tongue-in-cheek, morbid, and wry, creates some interesting results. For Donato, never-again relationships, never-to-be loves, imminent death, loneliness, and the unrepenting music industry are what great songs are made from. Especially when they are presented with a dash of Caribbean pop (“Moods of Extreme Desire”) and country-tonk charm (“Caretaker”). The album was recorded in a variety of local and regional studios, and, despite the large cast of friends and changing locations, it is cohesive and well articulated.
Donato will play at the American General Store in West Shokan on June 9. www.ragandboneshop.com.