Mat Walklate review….

MAT WALKLATE

SEA OF BLUES

COULD HAVE BEEN–PLAYING WITH MYSELF BOOGIE–THE SUN NEVER SHINES–SO DEEP IN TROUBLE–EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED–SWIMMING POOL–MODEST MAN–RIVER OF JORDAN/GET READY–OUT OF THE SUN–ANSWER YOUR PHONE–DUBBED AND BURNING

Mat Walklate hails from way over yonder in Manchester, UK.  He’s a brilliant harmonica blues man, and he is also proficient on flute and the uilleann pipes, always with one foot planted firmly on Delta soil, be it half a world away!  Thanks to the miracles of social media, we offer our review for his latest album, “Sea Of Blues.”

The set starts off at a blistering pace, with stutter-steppin’ guitar from Mat’s old friend Paolo Fuschi, as Mat and his harp chastise a lover who never gave them a chance, leaving our hero wondering “what we Could Have Been.”  Mat and Tom Attah on guitar fall into a sweet, country-blues groove, with the traditional-sounding “The Sun Never Shines,” where “luck is a blind lady, and she can be unkind.”  That Delta-fied theme carries over to the muddy groove of a man who knows “no matter how I struggle, I know I’ll never win,” “So Deep In Trouble.”  This served as one of our favorites, with that powerful riff leading the way.  “Exactly What You Need” calls for societal change, and is set over a percolatin’, percussive, damn-near-James Brown-ish arrangement,

Mat dabbles in some sweet ska-reggae beats, too, Mon.  “Modest Man” is one of those, with Justin Sheam on keys.  And, the set closes with a cool instrumental that sho’ nuff keeps the reggae lamps trimmed, “Dubbed And Burning!”  It is an excellent chromatic exercise, indeed.

We had two other favorites, both involving only Mat, his harps, and vocals.  First up, the traditional gospel of “River Jordan/Get Ready,” a moving song of redemption, and a promise of “meeting my mother in glory some of these days.”  The other is strictly Mat on harps, and he plays all of ’em on the playful, Little Walter-inspired, “Playing With Myself Boogie!”

Mat Walklate is a noted harmonica instructor, and you can see some of his vids on YouTube.  If you are familiar with the Australian artist Harper, then you’ve got an idea of what Mat’s puttin’ down.  Hey y’all—you can go all the way across the Pond, and still fall in a “Sea Of Blues” from this dazzling force on the harp!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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