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Newman; Mark: Walls Of Jericho

I have to say that Mark Newman is a new name on me, although considering that he has been the sideman to the likes of Willy DeVille, Sam Moore and Sam The Sham, there's no doubt that he comes with a certain amount of pedigree. Newman debuted as a solo singer songwriter in 2006 with his Must Be A Pony album and Walls Of Jericho is his second outing under his own steam.

After only one run through of Walls Of Jericho, it is immediately apparent that you are listening to a master craftsman, blending blues, rock 'n' roll, funk, folk and a big slap of Americana, to serve up a potent brew of songs that will keep aficionados of this style of music more than happy. More impressive is that it is all done in a way that could and should genuinely see Newman as a household name. All sort of influences spring to mind when you are looking for comparisons for the sound on Walls Of Jericho, which such luminaries as Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Neil Young and Don Henley (at his less commercial) being pretty close to the mark, but there is definitely a bluesier edge than most of those names would suggest and the depth of sound provided by this album is both seductive and heart warming.

Picking out highlights is a genuinely tough assignment, as I've yet to find a song that doesn't either pull at my heart strings, make me want to jive through the house, or croon along at full pelt. The gentle strum-along of "Vacation" is a prime example of the considered, but utterly convincing fare on this album; the guitar sways into and out of earshot in a way that leaves you bewitched by its spell and totally engrossed, but still demands that you belt out the words. Next up "She's The One" slows everything down with a deliberate almost ethnic rhythm providing the base for a Knopfler-esque piece of guitar work that is simply beautiful and while that is only a brief description of two consecutive songs, I could gush on at length about any given song on this album.

Newman shows a real empathy with his guitar, as he seems to play it with love and care, wringing every last emotional note from it and his vocals are full and rich in a way that lands him somewhere between Jackson Browne and an American Paul Rogers. The three or four songs on the album where his voice is augmented by female duets or background with Naomi Margolin are simply stunning and also illustrates that Newman is willing to let his backing band which features Shawn Murray on drums and James Dower on organ (along with many others guests) are never left in the main man's shadow.

I can't stop playing and becoming lost in the joys of Walls Of Jericho and have to say that it is the best album of this type that I have heard for a considerable time.

Track Listing
1. Until The Morning Comes
2. Don't Get Me Wrong
3. Taking Pictures
4. Fire On The Water
5. Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl
6. Walls of Jericho
7. Vacation
8. She's The One
9. Medicine Marie
10. I Wanna Know
11. White Bird
12. Under The Sun

Added: November 28th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mark Newman's Official Web Site
Hits: 1761
Language: english

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