Sometimes it takes a while for a project to release but Mark Collie who plays Frankie on the hit show ‘Nashville’ which will now be shown on CMT showed great perseverance when his latest project Mark Collie & His Reckless Companions: Alive At Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was fifteen years in the making.
“It was quite a challenging endeavor; I didn’t know that going in. When I began the process, I thought about going up, taking my guitar and spending some time with the inmates, hearing their stories, trying to make a difference in one life, shining a light of hope for them. And then it evolved into something bigger that you cannot imagine. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing or how long it would take to accomplish, or that it would take me 15 years to get a film documentary that we started finished, it’s exactly 15 years to the day on Oct. 21.,” said Collie.
As for the inspiration for this project, Collie mentioned he was inspired by Johnny Cash who not only inspired him as a songwriter but Cash was a friend who also had recorded his performance in a prison. The result was ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and while Cash was at Folsom Prison, he met Merle Haggard who became inspired to pursue music. While Collie didn’t think he would meet a Haggard, he did have a desire to inspire.
“When I was going to the prison I thought I could change one life. I just wanted to share a song or hymn. That song is really all I had to share.”
Mark Collie & His Reckless Companions: Alive At Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary will be released on Oct. 14. The project will be released on CD, vinyl and digital formats.
Collie will support the release with a signing and appearance on the Grand Ole Opry on October 14. The album was originally issued by an independent label in 2012, after more than a decade of being in the vault at MCA Nashville.
Collie recorded the album in 2001 at the Tennessee prison with guests Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown,Shawn Camp and Kelly Willis. The Brushy Mountain Prison Choir appears on the final track, “Gospel Train.” The prison closed in 2009.
Collie’s band on the project includes guitarist Dave Grissom, keyboardist Mike Utley, guitarist-mandolinst Tommy Burroughs, accordionist Hassle Tekkle, bassist Willie Weeks, and drummer Chad Cromwell. Camp playes guitar and fiddle on the album in addition to taking lead vocals on two tracks.
Collie has penned songs for Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Aaron Tippin, George Jones, and Alabama. In the early 1990s, he enjoyed Top 10 country hits on MCA Nashville with “Even the Man in the Moon Is Cryin’” and “Born to Love You.” He appears as bar owner Frankie Gray on the series Nashville.
As the show Nashville which currently filming for the new season, we asked Collie if he give us any updates on his character – Frankie. More importantly, we wanted to know if Frankie and Deacon played by Charles Esten will make up this season. Collie told us that he hasn’t been called to film yet but he had no idea he would become the most hated character on the show.
“I couldn’t go to Wal-Mart without little old women throwing tomatoes at me or cussing at me in the parking lot. Everybody loves Deacon! Charles Esten and I are great friends. We were writing together and Charles said they need someone to be his friend on the show, and he thought I’d be good at it. I thought I was finally getting to be a nice-guy role, then six episodes in, I was the most hated guy on the show.”
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