The Gospel According to Mark Conklin
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The Gospel According to Mark Conklin

No matter what corner of the globe you call home or what the last six months have looked like from where you sit from nine to five, we can all pretty much agree that 2024 has presented a chaotic time to be alive. There’s war and discord everywhere in the news, and it can be easy to get down about all of the negativity erupting between people these days, but even on the darkest of nights, music always has a way of shining a light and cutting through the unknown fog to show us the path towards salvation.

Enter gospel singer Mark D. Conklin knows just how powerful a tool music can be in times of immense chaos, and in his new album The Gospel According to Mark, he challenges us to kick our collective depression to the side in favor of embracing the rich joys of music and everything that it evokes within us.

Mark D. Conklin is nothing if he isn’t one of the most elaborate composers in his medium, and he boasts a very ambitious repertoire on The Gospel According to Mark that would be enough to make a lot of listeners wonder if this is his first record. The poised emotion that kicks off the album in “Take This Cup” isn’t the sort of thing we usually expect to hear out of a studio rookie, nor is the relaxed nature of “Into the River.”

The Gospel According to Mark is a record that you’re expecting to devolve at some point into predictability, but we never get to that point. On the contrary, each twist and turn that the LP has to offer is more eclectically stylized than the one that came before it, ensuring that the audience will remain gripped by the speakers for the duration of its playing time. This is a record that can easily be listened to multiple times on repeat without feeling like the message or the music itself is repetitive or even slightly formulaic.

To be quite frank, I’ve never been much for gospel music or the majority of CCM that I’ve encountered in my professional life as a journalist or in my private life as a music fan, but this record transcends categorical placement altogether. These songs, even in their potent religious context, could sit comfortably in some surprising places on radio, provided that they would still be performed by and produced under the close watchful eye of Mark D. Conklin himself.

With his level of skill, he has the power to captivate almost any audience within earshot of his magnificent voice, and I for one wouldn’t hesitate to check out any project that he chooses to tackle, whether it be faith-based or something more secular just the same. The Gospel According to Mark is a great window into the soulful stylings of one of gospel music’s most curiously intriguing artists today. I have a feeling that we’re going to be hearing a lot more of this man in the future, especially given the star-studded lineup behind him in the guest column.

Cleopatra Patel

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