Mark Harrison
Mark Harrison

Three dobros, a double bass and three fine singing voices were all that was needed to keep an appreciative audience entertained when blues singer songwriter Mark Harrison played at The Hub at St Mary’s.

Local singer-songwriter Ellie Galvin opened the evening, with some finely wrought original songs alongside some well chosen covers.

Another Side of Me and Carrots and Swede were soft love songs with intelligent lyrics and storytelling, accompanied by some fine dobro guitar.

I Want To Be Like You, from the Jungle Book, was given a boisterous swing jazz treatment, before she closed with Danny Boy, the acoustics of The Hub showing the song and the singer of to good advantage.

With double bassist and harmony vocalist Charles Benfield, Mark Harrison played a set that ranged from folk to blues, roots and appalachian music.

Putting a couple of dobros through their paces, his energetic, complex rhythmic and melodic slide guitar showed the instrument of to good advantage. His songs were angry about the world, but often contained sweet melodies, and the driving double bass added texture and colour to many of the songs, often bowing the notes to add something of the tonality of a cello to the music.

Songs such as Georgia Green and Tribulation Time were telling tales of life, while there was gospel in the DNA of Meet on the Other Side and in Big Mary’s House. Some of the numbers told of struggles at work and about working for the man, such as in Your Second Line and Not All Right.

This was an evening of good music and original songs played with style and panache.