Review: Martin Harley Band – Worthenbury – 16 Jul 2010
Posted on: Thursday, Jul 22, 2010
THE MARTIN HARLEY BAND – Worthenbury Village Hall, Friday July 16th
This was the first time that Martin Harley and his band had appeared in the region and whilst the schools breaking up that day had affected the attendance, a good crowd nevertheless enjoyed one of the best nights in Worthenbury in a long, long while.
An outstanding songwriter and vocalist, Martin played an array of guitars both conventional and lap and was backed by Pete Swatton on drums and balalaika and vocals and Jay Carter on double bass, guitar and vocals. The band is difficult to pigeon hole and whilst they are rooted in the blues, their music encompasses a wide array of styles and touches into the traditional, folk and country song books.
The gig was primarily aimed at promoting the new CD “Drumrolls for Somersaults” on an extensive UK tour and featured the tracks Love in the Afternoon, Automatic Life, and the superb Winter Coat which featured the band completely acoustic with Martin and Jay on guitars and Pete on balalaika singing in perfect three part harmony. This track has been released as a single as part of the campaign for Busking for Cancer Relief.
The catch title track from the CD Money Don’t Matter was followed by the brilliant lap steel bluesy Blues At My Window and from the band’s first CD the lovely Summer Shadows featured the wonderful harmonies that characterise the band’s appeal.
In the second lengthy set, the band dipped into the blues catalogue with Blind Willie Johnson’s Nobody Fault But Mine again featuring amazing lap steel guitar from Martin on this and Robert Johnson’s Crossroads. Finally the set came to an end when Voodoo Chile was given the same treatment.
An encore was demanded and a brilliant version of Tom Waits’s Chocolate Jesus brought to an end an absolutely superb night. This band is definitely going places and having been brought to the attention of a wider audience after the UK tour supporting James Morrison including a concert at the Albert Hall, it will be no surprise to see them break into the big time. I strongly recommend you catch them as soon as you can.
For the full set of pictures, visit the bluesinthenorthwest.com photo archive.
Photo by Ian Williams