Mark Harrison: The World Outside

Mark Harrison The World Outside.jpeg

Submitted by Iain Patience

Harrison is one of the new current crop of English bluesmen, busy carving a reputation as a leading-edge writer and guitarist in the bars, clubs and music festivals of Europe and the UK.  All twelve tracks that make up this release were written by Harrison and more than adequately illustrate his mastery of style and subject.

What makes this guy stand out from most of the rest is the simple key element that underpins everything he does: he plays acoustic, generally slide guitar in a traditional style but with his own material which is bang up to date. An interesting mélange that few can pull off with success, Harrison, not only succeeds he positively triumphs.

On this release he is joined by his old buddy Ed Hopwood on drums and vocals, plus a number of other fine backing musicians; the Harp work of Will Greener is particularly  strong and the vocal support from Josienne Clarke, who also doubles up on Tenor Sax, Flute and Piano, is a positively welcome addition.

The twelve tracks here are fine examples of modern blues in the UK today from a guy with his ear to the musical ground coupled with humour and a deft turn of phrase and pacing. Many themes are modern while others reflect an interest in social issues with lively thought.

At times introspective, 'The World Outside' represents a very fine slice of British acoustic blues music from a clearly talented singer-songwriter with a finely balanced sense of self-deprecating wit.