Mark Harrison Band – Music News

Mark Harrison has been on the blues scene for about 10 years now, and I’ve seen him play solos, duos, trios, and even five pieces, but this is the first album he’s released as Mark Harrison Band and the result definitely has the feel of a band rather than a solo musician with additional sessioneers.

The band is Harrison himself, drummer and percussionist Ben Welburn and Charles Benfield on double bass, guitars, mandolin and piano and everything produced, mixed and mastered by Benfield.

Mark Harrison is a unique songwriter and singer in that he writes in the style of ancient blues and folk singers – he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre, especially of the old traveling bluesmen of the pre-electric era. , and often written in the style of a Skip Taylor or a Lightning Hopkins but his performance is always tempered by a flat Coventry accent, rooting the music in the here and now. He plays a National resonator, a 12-string guitar and – very occasionally – an electric guitar, as well as his voice and wrote all 21 songs here.
And so, to the music.

21 tracks spread over 2 CDs and each an acoustic delight.
Harrison tells stories and there is something in every song to tell a story or illuminate the human condition. The songs come from various times in his musical history – many of them have been performed live for years – but they have a real fresh feel to them. In a conversation with Mark, he told me that the recording process was for the three band members to perform “live” in the studio with only a few covers and very little dubbing. He said he thought recording with others, rather than in a booth and listening through headphones, improved the way his voice fit in with the group and, from my position, he really seems to have reproduced the same type of environment he manages by playing inhabit. Lots of credit has to go to Charles Benfield for a delightfully clean and focused production.

Harrison is a keen observer of much of humanity, in “Passing Through” he depicts the activities and emotions of the masses, but from the perspective of an outside observer – a contract worker – while ” Club Of Lost Souls” makes it intimately part of those dislodged or rejected from the core – redundant.

One of the standout tracks is ‘Toolmaker’s Blues’ which recalls his upbringing in Coventry, once the heart of UK manufacturing but now with factories silenced, with the heartbreaking refrain of ‘How can you to be a toolmaker when no one buys tools? ”
I feel like the second CD has more of a classic Blues feel to me, the themes more “personal” in many ways, but the songs on both CDs are just as listenable and the album is the one that stuck with me. really made it listen like I’ve had a few good times just for fun.

Mark Harrison is a unique and very British songwriter, and the band he has around him creates a wonderful sound that perfectly matches his exquisite lyricism.
A really great album.


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