Mark Harrison’s third album release, The World Outside” takes the listener straight into the world of rootsy blues based folk with a smattering of jazz. This record is a follow up to the highly acclaimed “The Crooked Smile” and “Watching the Parade” and it doesn’t disappoint.
Mark has composed all twelve tracks and there is a refreshing air to this album. The opening track, “Panic Attack” is catchy and quirky enough to grab your attention instantly. “Panic Attack” showcases Mark’s finger picking skills along with the delicate mandolin of Ben Walker and strong harmonica of Will Greener.
As I listened to” The World Outside” I was reminded strongly of sound of created by The Humblebums, a Scottish folk group from the late 1960’s who were fronted by the late great Gerry Rafferty and featured the musical talents of Billy Connolly. “Long Gone Miles” also has a vibe that harks back to the summer of 1970 and Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime”.
“Not Alright” offers the listener a contrast of style with a deeply emotional vocal performance from Josienne Clark. This beautiful folk/blues song has clear echoes of Joan Baez.
Mark’s lyrics bring this genre back into the 21st Century and my personal favourite line can be found in “Where Ignorance Is Bliss” – “everything I know about women could be written on a rat’s ass.” A lyric perhaps that Bob Dylan would be proud of as the song overall is reminiscent of his style.
This album falls into a musical genre where there have been many iconic names in the past that are a hard act to follow.“The World Outside” is a refreshing addition to this genre of music and brings it bang up to the here and now. It harks back to bygone days of delta blues/folk and jazz but it also proves to the listener that this world is safe in the talented hands of Mark Harrison and his 1934 National resonator. “The World Outside” is a strong rootsy album, true to its heritage, perhaps a little repetitive in parts, but is an album that I will be listening to for some time.