Friday, September 23, 2011

Music Review: “Black, White and the Blues” by Mark T. Small


Early in the mornin’, the blues come down like screamin’ rain….

Mark T SmallGrab a jug of lightnin’ , your old guitar, and meander out to the front porch as the sun goes down and the day cools off. It’s time for a little music  to wash the day off your back.

Pluck a little John Lee Hooker, or some Lightnin’ Hopkins. Stomp your foot to some Willie Dixon, some Mississippi Fred McDowell, get adventurous and try  out some Robert Johnson licks. That’s the way Mark T. Small’s new album, Blacks, Whites & The Blues makes you feel.

Whether he’s flat picking a country blues on “Old Gray Mare” or a bottle neck slide like “61 Highway” or channeling the Mississippi Delta Blues of Fred McDowell’s “A Few More Lines” or the Chicago Blues of Roy Hawkins tune, “The Thrill Is Gone” made famous by  BB King and done here in a slow, soulful interpretation that make’s it his own. Mark T. Small will move you to a whole new love of American music. From the hills to the cities, from the rural backwaters to the urban alleys, this is roots music played by a man who has studied it, got lost in it, and at times seems to fall down on his knees and prayed to it.

This collection of fourteen songs covers it all. Every style, every era from the late 1800s through the early ‘50s. Whether he is playing a 1947 Martin, or a newer D-18, his National Steel or a Fender Telecaster, there somehow seems to be more here than just a catalog; a sampler, and as if by magic it has a cohesive feel of a concept album.

This is one man with his various guitars and a love of music and an intensity in delivering that to an audience, nears a religious furor. Mark’s virtuosity on each instrument will astound you and the soul he puts into delivering these tunes will hold you enthrall.

Mark T. Small

“Originally from new England, Mark T. Small first got into music as a teenager playing old fiddle tunes on the guitar with surprising effect. This lead to playing Bluegrass music with a gig in the The Brown County Band. Around this same time, Mark picked up the harmonica and started listening to blues player like Junior Wells and Charlie Musselwhite. Then one day he picked up the electric guitar and started playing some Johnny Winters, some Roy Buchanan, and as the story goes, the rest is history. He played in and formed Blues Bands, and even played with some of his heroes. Around the year 2000, he started gravitating back to his acoustic roots, much to the joy of fans everywhere.

Mark is supporting the release of Blacks, Whites & The Blues with a series of showcase performances at clubs in Scottsdale, AZ and other southwest venues as well as his former stomping ground in the New England area. Blacks, Whites & the Blues is available as of September 20 on CD, and for MP3 download at all the usual places and Mark’s website,


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Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

Article first published as Music Review: Black, White and the Blues by Mark T. Small on Blogcritics.

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