Showing posts with label Paul Tkachenko. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Tkachenko. Show all posts

Saturday, October 6, 2018

#355 : Mark Harrison - The Panoramic View

2018 –Mark Harrison / Highway Records

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 6, 2018

I absolutely adored Mark Harrison’s 2016 album, Turpentine.  His latest release, The Panoramic View, described by Harrison himself as his magnum opus, now takes precedence.  The UK-based roots artist is one of the best songwriters around, and I especially take notice when this man tackles the Blues with a nostalgic story-telling approach.  With Harrison performing on National and 12-string guitars, the rest of the band consists of Charles Benfield on double bass, Ben Welburn on drums/percussion, Paddy Milner on piano, Paul Tkachenko on tuba, trombone, trumpet, and mandolin, and Ed Hopwood on harmonica.  For a fascinating and unique twist, Harrison enlists Scottish television personality Gail Porter to provide a spoken word introduction prior to each song.   

I love the sound of the National on “House Full of Children”.  It sounds go great paired with the horns on this upbeat homage to Detroit bluesman Eddie ‘Guitar’ Burns.  Harrison takes a deep look inside the words of Son House as he describes the meaning of life, and the Blues in “What Son House Said”.  His performance is delicate and endearing.   Harrison sings about life after death in “Meet on the Other Side”, a splendid country blues spiritual.  A timeless melody and a subject matter everyone has experienced is the heart of “Mess is Everywhere”.  With timely blurts from his tuba, Tkachenko keeps the song moving along its tracks.  While on the subject of tracks, “John the Chinaman” honors the railroad Chinese immigrant laborers who made up the majority of the transcontinental railways workforce in the 1850’s.  Harrison’s bright finger work on guitar keeps a locomotive pace on this delightful blues ditty.   

From beginning to end, The Panoramic View is an exquisite listen.  Harrison’s declaration of this being his magnum opus, certainly stands true.    


Link to PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Review of Mark Harrison's Turpentine album:

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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mark Harrison - Turpentine

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.