2016 – Mark Harrison
By Phillip Smith; Sep. 17, 2016
UK musician Mark Harrison is one hell of a story-teller and songwriter. He delivers his roots-rich music acoustically using National and twelve string guitars. His latest album, Turpentine, is a delightful listen to say the least. Playing alongside Harrison on this thirteen track album of all original material is Charles Benfield on double bass, Ed Hopwood on drums, percussion and harmonica, and Paul Tkachenko on mandolin, piano, organ, and accordion.
Make the best with what you have, is the message shared in “Black Dog Moan”. The light and carefree melody captures my full attention. I can totally relate to the frustration Harrison sings about in “Hardware Store”, as he sings ‘”All those things they sell down in that hardware store. I don’t know what they do and I don’t know what they’re for”. The fabulous instrumental, “Dog Rib” is a haunting bluesy treat with a tribal beat. This is acoustic blue at its best. Tkachenko straps on the accordion and sprinkles some New Orleans-style Cajun seasoning into “Dirty Business”, a song about greed and thievery.
I absolutely adore the “The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek”. This amazing song tells the story of the deal made in 1830 between the US government and Chief Greenwood LeFlore of the Choctaw Nation, in what is now known as Mississippi.
One listen to Turpentine, and it is quite apparent why Harrison received two nominations in the British Blues Awards, for Songwriter and Acoustic. The album is an instant treasure in my books.