The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

MARK KNIGHT
BONE RAIL TIGHT

 

 

You may or may not have heard of Mark Knight before. If you want the history then check out his website: www.musicbymarkknight.com. Let’s just say that some years ago he was part of one of my favourite eighties rock bands: Bang Tango, before forming a The Worry Beads, via Gravy. He’s still making beautiful music though these days it’s of an entirely different colour.

 

This year sees his debut full-length solo release. It’s an eclectic album running the gamut from blues, through the wide-open fields of modern Americana all the way to reggae: all done with no little swagger and great style.

 

If you like Gov’t Mule, The Allmans, Widespread Panic, Jimmy Herring or anyone out in that field you’ll want to hear this. If you love what Izzy Stradlin’ is still doing these days it’s one for you too.

 

The template is established right away on the opening track ‘Sorry Life’: there’s a real down to earth honesty here and whilst there’s a real American sound, a hint of blues and a slice of country, all wrapped up in a jam band ethic there’s also a lot more layers. Initially the opening track reminded me somewhat of Soul Asylum at the best, that “Hang Time/Horse They Rode in on” simplicity and authenticity.

 

‘Hotel Heaven’ on the other hand is a little more straightforward: like the Black Crowes at their most essential; sure there’s the Stones and an underlying laid-back West Coast stoner vibe, but oh so mellow as to just hint that it lives there just below the surface.

 

For me it’s the bluesier and the folksier numbers that work best of all. For the Blues ‘Brighter Shade of Blue’ washes over you and transports you away downstream (it’s probably my favourite track at the moment) and the wonderful ‘Dinnertime’ splashes water in your face and brings you to your senses. Both songs are driven forward by the wonderful pairing of Matt Abts on drums and Tony Marsico on bass.

 

Elsewhere you can imagine songs like ‘Coal Miner Town’ and Hotel Heaven’ being carefully taken down from a high dusty shelf in an old mom and pop store on some distant and indistinct blue highway. They are ballads that seem somehow timeless: there’s something so real and essential about the way Mark has crafted the songs that you can’t help but feel they aren’t of this time.

 

The first video from the album is for ‘Hung Up on It’ it’s a light reggae-infused number that lilts and turns slowly and hypnotically. There’s a nice female vocal echoing Mark’s. To be honest initially it confused me and I still don’t think it is the strongest song here, but it is a grower and a nice counterpoint to what precedes and follows.


The second half of the CD is just as strong with the dirty blues of ‘Mister Wise Man’ and ‘Poor Boy Blues’ standing out for their simplicity and harder groove. I love the backing vocal and solo on the former and the groove the drums and harmonica lay down on the latter takes some licking.


Closing with the laid back ‘Three Dollar Shirt’ and the simply amazing tour de force that is ‘Jimmy’s Lake’ is as good a place as I could imagine to end this leg of the ride.


I loved the last Worry Beads CD and this Solo CD from Mark Knight for me is up there with the latest by Drive By Truckers and Widespread Panic. Leaving you with a song like ‘Jimmy’s Lake’ though makes you wonder how far Mr Knight can go. He just needs you to listen.

 

 

Mark Rockpit