Review: Martin Harley And Daniel Kimbro – Live At Southern Ground

Posted on: Saturday, Sep 26, 2015


Martin Harley And Daniel Kimbro – Live At Southern Ground

(Del Mundo Records)

Martin Harley is one of our finest acoustic guitar players and on “Live At Southern Ground”, recorded in Nashville, he is joined by upright bass player Daniel Kimbro, who has worked with the likes of Jerry Douglas and Larkin Poe – together they have created a little blues and roots gem over the space of its ten tracks.

Harley plays Weissenborn on a lot of the tracks – a traditional Hawaiian acoustic guitar played across the lap – as well as laptop and resonators, and  his beautiful tone is a joy to behold, along with his rich, engaging voice . . . I have to say the album reminded me a lot of Kelly Joe Phelps, the American guitar maestro.

The album, as the title suggests, is a simple affair – with no overdubs, in a nice room, and as Martin says  himself, “over a cold beer or two . . . “, and that sounds good to me! The duo revisit some of Harley’s back catalogue and also take on a few interesting covers, all very classy and lovely on the ear.

The album opens with a duo of older songs – the slide-driven “Cardboard King” and the lovely “Winter Coat”, leading into a nice take on the timeless Leadbelly song, “Goodnight Irene”. The bluesy “Can’t Help Moving” opens with some sweet slide; and that is followed by the short finger-picking extravaganza, “Honey Bee”.

The duo cover Tom Waits “Chocolate Jesus”, with more superb playing all round; the remaining cover is another blues ‘chestnut’, the often-covered Blind Willie Johnson tune, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” . . . rest assured, it is in safe hands here.

This delight of an album finishes on a high with another of Martin Harley’s songs, “Love In The Afternoon” . . . with blistering guitar and equally great bass from Daniel Kimbro . . . but stayed ‘tuned’ for the ‘hidden’ track!

For all lovers of acoustic blues and top class roots music . . . this is for you!


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