Review: Mark Harrison – Crooked Smile

Posted on: Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013

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Mark Harrison – Crooked Smile

(self-release)

Here’s something a little different . . . . a smashing rootsy collection from London-based Mark Harrison, who has penned all 12 songs on “Crooked Smile” and also sings and plays some fine National resonator and 12-string guitar.

He has surrounded himself with some of the capitals kindred musical spirits in the shape of Charles Benfield (double bass, Hammond C3 organ, harmonium, percussion, electric guitar, vocals), Ryan Carr (mandolin, vocals, electric guitar), Will Greener (harmonica, vocals), Ed Hopwood (drums, percussion, vocals), Ben Walker (mandolin, electric guitar) and the featured vocals of Josienne Clarke.

To be honest a lot of the tunes are similarly paced, but are none the worse for that . . . the sound a kind of country blues, meets jug band and folk . . . Harrison being an observational type of writer focusing on the lives of ordinary people, thus giving the music a certain charm and depth.

Titles such as “Pearly Gates” and “Crematorium Blues” are not nearly as bleak and dark as the titles may suggest  . . . with other odes to “The Demon Drink” and the world weariness of “Lay Your Burden Down” . . . well worth checking out, especially for anyone tired of blazing Stratocasters . . . . they may well be taken by the fare on offer here.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.markharrisonrootsmusic.com

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