Wednesday, June 7, 2017
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: MARTIN HARLEY & DANIEL KIMBRO - STATIC IN THE WIRES
Here's one of those albums where you reach for the credits to see who wrote this or that classic, only to discover they are all brand new. Harley is the songwriter, and a slide guitar wiz. Then you check to see what tiny southern hamlet he's from, where he no doubt soaked up classic roots and blues inspiration from original masters. That's when you find out he's actually from Cardiff, Wales. Harley's been building his North American fan base over the past few years, first with his self-named Trio, and now in this duo setting with acoustic double bassist Kimbro. Add drummer Derek Mixon, and that's pretty much the whole record, except for a killer dobro part by the undisputed king, Jerry Douglas, on the cut Feet Don't Fail Me.
You have two choices here for your listening pleasure: You can go all the way through checking out Harley masterful slide playing or his acoustic guitar work, the interplay with Kimbro and the drums and occasional piano, and relax in his smooth, plaintive vocals. Or, you can pay closer attention to the choice songwriting in a variety of roots styles. Dancing On The Rocks is a moody acoustic piece with room for some lengthy instrumental parts, Harley dazzling on several lead breaks in lower notes. Trouble has its roots in New Orleans jazz, his slide doing the cornet breaks, Kimbro pumping through with a tuba-like bass line, and then taking a solo on bowed bass. Postcard From Hamburg is a sad reflection from the road, with Harley spends most of his time. This was a new pair for me, and I'm very pleased to get to know them.