Martin Harley is a blues-Americana singer-songwriter who has teamed up with bass player Daniel Kimbro. Static In The Wires is their second album together and mighty fine it is too.
Recorded beautifully in Nashville, this is an album of achingly wonderful songs that conjures up visions of sunlight drifting across smoky rooms, bringing together influences such as JJ Cale and Taj Mahal.
It also goes up a notch in my estimation with the appearance of dobro master Jerry Douglas on Feet Don't Fail Me.
The playing on this album is exemplary, the slide guitars, with occasional drums and piano, are ably abetted by the magical double bass of Daniel Kimbro, scratching and bowing to bring out some amazing sounds from his instrument.
The songwriting is very strong. This is a musician who knows his art so well. From the catchy One Horse Town, with its tinkling piano and crisp drums, that starts the album we know we are good hands. The double bass is booming away high up in the mix, there's strong vocals and lots of tasteful guitar.
There's plenty of light and shade to be found here, the jaunty Feet Don't Fail Me is a slide lover's delight, the slower Postcard From Hamburg shows these boys can do the melancholic just beautifully, and I loved the upbeat Trouble, which is one of many highlights to be found here.
The final song, Mean Old City - Part 2, is the longest track and boy have these guys left the best to last. The double bass sounds as if it's on fire as the atmosphere builds, and the plaintive vocals and superlative guitar catch the mood perfectly in this bluesy climax. Sublime.
Martin Harley, who has now recorded seven albums, is well known across the water, with regular festival appearances and shows across the States. The duo will be playing a 20-date UK tour stretching from Perth in Scotland to Exeter, that kicks off in Leicester on March 3.
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