Martin Harley Rolls With The Punches

Martin Harley
Martin Harley

Blues fans rejoice as Martin Harley not only has a new album out, but it’s a plugged-in, full band experience that brings quality blues to a new height. After two acoustic albums, he has gone electric on Roll With The Punches but still gives us his trademark, luscious slide playing that first endeared him to me and delivers ten varied tracks that travel the full gamut of blues of every hue.

Opening with the title track, that slide will draw you in as Martin builds the melody over simple but effective backing. It’s a familiar but very new rhythm and is catchy even before the Hammond and chorus invite you to join in. ‘Marguerite’ is classy countrified, slide driven blues. ‘Hotel Lonely’ is sheer brilliance and Gallagher touches within the rolling rhythm and the solo is genius. ‘If Tears Were Pennies’ shows a unique attack as he combine clever picking with strumming that evokes punk. ‘Clarbeston Renovation’ may refer to the Pembrokeshire village he recorded this in… regardless the haunting guitar with no backing, is pure genius and call to mind the equally underappreciated Miller Anderson. It also has some lovely Vigilante Man echoes hidden away and I simply love this simply complex and way too short instrumental. ‘Putting Down Roots’ is acoustic with simple percussion and a mildly Latin lilt to it. The guitar is again exquisite in the instinctive way Martin plays. Final track, ‘The Time Is Now’ has a complex, rapid picking intro that reminds me of such class acts as Marcel Dadi and Django at his peak. Simply brilliant!

As DC famously sang, “I love the blues”… if you do, you will love this accomplished, varied and classy slice of slide driven blues; give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed.

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