My Kind of Blues

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JR sent me this and said it’s my kind of blues – I’m a fussy bugger these days. It’s in two days time: MARK HARRISON at Bullfrog on Thursday


Here’s Mark…

“Blues is pretty much the only kind of music that had stood the test of time. I assembled something of a collection of the greats, from Charley Patton to Muddy via Blind Willie McTell and the first Sonny Boy Williamson. I read a lot of books about their world and their music. It all spoke to me in mysterious ways.
I decided to buy a resonator. While trying out new ones in a London shop, I was directed to a recent arrival. ‘The way you play, you’ll like this one,’ I was told. It was still in its case. It was a 1934 National Trojan, a wood-body resonator. ‘It’s got a sweet sound but it’ll bite if you want it to,’ the man said. He was right. Eric Bibb had just brought it in. Fate. Of living blues artists, he was the one I’d most cottoned on to. Naturally, I bought the guitar.

I asked some of the fine musicians I’d played regularly with to play on my first album, “WatchingThe Parade“.Charles Benfield (double bass), Ryan Carr (mandolin), Ed Hopwood (drums) and Will Greener (harmonica). The centrepiece is the National guitar, but I play 12-string and 6-string and electric guitars on there too.

Over the following couple of years I played a couple of hundred gigs all over London, – some solo, many with the band, including supporting such fine touring US artists as The Holmes Brothers and Doug MacLeod. There were radio appearances too.
In 2012, we recorded the second album, “Crooked Smile, with two additions to the band, Josienne Clarke (vocals) and Ben Walker (mandolin/electric guitar). The album went down very well, one of the songs, Honeyboy, got nominated for Best Original Song in the British Blues Awards and gigging increased. I did my first few festivals then too, including an unforgettable set at Purbeck Folk Festival, with the whole 6-piece band.
In 2014, I released “The World Outside”, with the same line-up. By this time, I was doing gigs all over the country, radio sessions such as Jazz FM, and getting interviews and features in press and online. We played at a number of very good festivals, such as Love Supreme and Ealing Blues, and a real highlight was when Ed Hopwood & I played Celtic Connections in Glasgow, headlining my own sell out concert there.
In 2015, I put out the live album, “On The Chicken Sandwich Train”  which reached  to #3 in the UK Independent Broadcasters Association chart. I also got nominated in the British Blues Awards in the Acoustic and Songwriter categories. We played at some top festivals such as Bearded Theory and Lakefest, and 2016 saw the release of “Turpentine” – the line-up was  now me, Charles and Ed
I started with no aim at all, but the whole thing has gathered its own momentum. I get to play at fantastic places all over the country, all sorts of different kinds of event, and all sorts of  audiences. I’m amazed to find that people buy tickets to see me, come up to me and say such nice things about the songs. And it’s great how much they enjoy the talking between the songs, which seems to have become a major part of my live shows. Plus I get to play with such fine musicians, and to meet nice human beings wherever I go.
So, there you have it! Come and see Mark Harrison at The Bullfrog Blues Club, Onslow Rd., Southsea, PO52NH. Doors open at 8 p.m Advance tickets are available just £8 via our website – www.barkingspider.abelgratis.com via Paypal at , and also from Street Level Music, 139 Albert Rd, Southsea, Hampshire, PO5 2SQ

Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

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