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Showing posts with label Mark T. Small. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark T. Small. Show all posts

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mark T. Small Wins "Acoustic Blues Album of the Year" Award at 2014 Blues Blast Magazine Awards Show


Mark T. Small Wins “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year” Award at 2014 Blues Blast Magazine Awards Show

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Blues singer/guitarist Mark T. Small won the “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year” award at the 2014 Blues Blast Magazine Awards Ceremonies, held October 23 at the Fluid Events Center in Champaign, Illinois. Small also performed during the gala held to honor blues music artists and CD releases for the year. "It was an honor to be part of such a fine event and be associated with such a fantastic publication,” said Mark T. Small. “Winning the award was the icing on the cake.”

The Somerset, Massachusetts-based artist garnered the recognition for his January, 2014, release, Smokin’ Blues, on the Lead Foot Music label imprint. The dozen tracks on Smokin’ Blues, Small’s fourth CD,  solidified his place as an emerging master of the guitar, whose styles range from Delta and Chicago blues to the intricate, flatpicking style from his early days in “Newgrass” bands. The 12 songs on the CD reflect music originally performed by such early blues legends as Blind Boy Fuller, Tampa Red, Charley Patton and Reverend Gary Davis to post-war icons John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and even a Stax/Memphis soul vibe with the inclusion of a Rufus Thomas tune.  

“Smokin' Blues is a sampler of the guitar grooves that make up my solo show,” said Mark T. Small upon the album’s release. “My main objective for this CD was to produce a recording that sounds and feels like I am playing in a small room with the listener. The only effect that was added, other than the ‘radio tone’ on the song, ‘Daddy Was a Jockey,’ was a touch of reverb to further simulate listening in a small room.”

Upon its release, reviews for the CD were over-the-top in their praise. “Smokin’ Blues lives up to its title from start to finish,” wrote Malcolm Kennedy in his review for the Washington Blues Society. “I give it my highest recommendation, simply fabulous!” “He's as good a guitarist as you will hear and if you listen to Smokin’ Blues, you will hear plenty of evidence of that, as Small tears through a dozen of his favorite songs,” said Graham Clarke in Friday Blues Fix. “With vocals as strong as sweet as his fret work, Small has made one memorable and amazingly versatile album right here that guitar fans will love.”

Mark T. Small has been playing music since his early teens, when he began listening to Old Time Music. He learned to play fiddle tunes on the guitar in the styles of Doc Watson and Norman Blake and also learned to play the Dobro. In 1981, this music took Mark to Indiana to play and record with a five-piece “Newgrass Band” called The Brown County Band. At the same time, he was playing harmonica and listening to Junior Wells and Charlie Musselwhite.
After returning to the East Coast, Mark dug deeper into the blues, playing more electric guitar. When he was playing progressive Newgrass, his style had the influence of the blues. Now delving into the blues, his playing has the razors edge and speed that was developed from years of flat-picking. This combination of the lightning fast bluegrass style and soulful blues playing are the key components of Mark’s sound. .
Beginning in the late 1980s, Mark started his own Chicago-style blues band that ranged anywhere from three to ten pieces on a given night and was a staple on the New England club circuit for over a dozen years. Many of the gigs were played as a “power trio” with Mark singing and filling the band out with scorching electric blues guitar. Other times, the band included a keyboard or sax player and/or the addition of the Newport Navy Band Horn Section.
 In 2000, Mark began to gravitate back to his acoustic roots and the studio became his classroom. After making a decision to pursue a solo career, Mark took all of the lessons that he had learned over the last 25 years and constructed an act that was as hard- hitting as the band, but all in a one-man show. As such, he’s opened for Johnny Winter, Robert Cray, James Cotton and others.
Today, his show includes many traditional Delta blues numbers with a Chicago blues slant that transforms each tune into a “tour de force.” Included are the blazing flat-picking techniques that grabbed audiences in Mark’s bluegrass days, the hot slide guitar playing that creates a mood and timbre change in each set and the showmanship that was developed from his years of experience. 
“On Smokin' Blues I tried to match the intensity of playing in a club setting,” Mark said at the time. “In these settings I take the tunes that I love, interpret them and do everything possible to make that connection with the audience.”
To download a photo of Mark at the Blues Blast Awards with his trophy, click here: marktsmallbbaward
For more information, visit www.marktsmall.com.
Upcoming Mark T. Small Performances
December 12 / The Amazing Things Arts Center - Framingham, MA
A Night Of Acoustic Blues / Co-Bill with Danielle Miraglia 
 
January 17 / The Narrows Center For The Arts - Fall River, MA - Winter Blues Fest / On the bill with Young Neal & The Vipers, Mike Zito & The Wheel, Johnny Hoy & The Bluefish
January 24th / The Cotuit Cultural Center - Cotuit, MA - With James Montgomery & Bruce Marshal 
 
In residence every Thursday at The New World Tavern, Plymouth, MA (7:00-10:00 PM)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lead Foot Music - Mark T Small - Smokin' Blues - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (January 28, 2014), Smokin' Blues, from Mark T Small and it really is smokin! Opening with Blind Boy Fuller's guitar boogie, Step It Up And Go, Small is cooking right out of the gate. A straight simple acoustic guitar boogie with vocals its a great start. Next Up is Tampa Red's Sell My Monkey, a slow acoustic blues with really clean walking bass line and blues riffs. Cool track. My Daddy Was A Jockey is right out of John Lee Hooker's songbook and Small gets the feel of Hooker with his relentless vamp and 2 note solos. Very cool. Jimmy Oden's Going Down Slow has really expressive vocals and exceptional acoustic blues riffs. Really really nice. Gary Davis' Buck Rag is really well executed. Davis was one of my favorite acoustic players and Small has done an excellent job of playing tribute to a great player. Rufus Thomas' Walkin The Dog is always a fun track and Small gives it a new run. He coaxes himself on in a calling style as he plays cool guitar riffs. Howlin' Wolf's Moanin' At Midnight finds Small joined by Walter Woods on harp. Woods is a nice addition playing some smokin riffs and Small lays down some cool slide to boot! Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning, another Gary Davis tune but played on a resonator and with slide giving it more of a delta feel. Elmore James' Early In The Morning is up next and given a walking blues sound but with some slick James riffs thrown in. Again very nice. Sam McGee's Railroad Blues is one of the most meomorable tracks on the release with some exceptional flatpicked guitar runs. Whew! Charlie Patton's Stone Pony Blues has a real authentic feel with thick delta vibe. Wrapping up the release is Americana Medley, a ragtime style arrangements of America The Beautiful/Take Me Out To The Ballgame/Yankee Doodle Dandy sounding not unlike Chet Atkins. This is a real nice conclusion to a really clean release.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Guitarist Mark T. Small Delivers Some "Smokin' Blues" on New CD Coming January 28, 2014, on Lead Foot Music



Guitarist Mark T. Small Delivers Some
Smokin’ Blues on New CD Coming January 28, 2014, on Lead Foot Music  

Latest Album Showcases Small’s Guitar Mastery in a Variety of Blues & Roots Forms






SOMERSET, MA – Guitarist Mark T. Small announces a January 28, 2014 release date for his fourth CD, Smokin’ Blues, on the Lead Foot Music label imprint. The even-dozen tracks on Smokin’ Blues solidify the Massachusetts-based Small’s place as an emerging master of the guitar, ranging from Delta blues and Chicago styles, to the intricate flatpicking schooled from his early days in “Newgrass” bands. The 12 songs on the new CD reflect music originally performed by such early blues legends as Blind Boy Fuller, Tampa Red, Charley Patton and Reverend Gary Davis to post-war icons John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and even a Stax/Memphis soul vibe with the inclusion of a Rufus Thomas tune.  

“Smokin' Blues is a sampler of the guitar grooves that make up my solo show,” says Mark T. Small. “My main objective for this CD was to produce a recording that sounds and feels like I am playing in a small room with the listener.  The only effect that was added, other than the ‘radio tone’ on the song, ‘Daddy Was a Jockey,’ was a touch of reverb to further simulate listening in a small room.

“I am a live player, not a studio guy. My friend and mentor Shor'ty Billups, who is a guest on this CD, always taught me to let the audience do the editing of my songs. By paying attention to the crowd, I can tell if my solos or songs are too long or if the groove is not quite right.  I am always watching to see who is tapping their feet in the back of the room and am paying close attention to which grooves get people moving.”

Small enlists the aid of some serious guitar “weapons” on Smokin’ Blues to achieve the desired effects. “I have tried to include a number of different guitar styles and techniques on this CD,” he adds. “At gigs, I use a Martin flattop and a National resophonic guitar to play about six different guitar styles.  I try to mix things up by maybe starting with a fingerpicking piano-like style, then switching to a flatpick for some Chicago style blues, and then I might use my National guitar to create a tonal shift. When the grooves are thumpin' for a while, I may bring the set in a different direction by flatpicking something like ‘Railroad Blues’ in a bluegrass style, throw in a fiddle tune and then maybe play a couple of rag time instrumentals.”
Mark includes two instrumentals on the new album that truly showcase his deft guitar work: Reverend Gary Davis’ “Buck Rag,” and the album’s closer, “America Medley.” On the former, he plays the bass, melody and harmony lines all at once, using the thumb, index and middle fingers on his right hand, effectively emulating the amazing work Davis did on the original. The “America Medley” features one of his own arrangements in a fingerpicking style similar to that of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis.

Mark T. Small has been playing music since his early teens, when he began listening to Old Time Music. He learned to play fiddle tunes on the guitar in the styles of Doc Watson and Norman Blake and also learned to play the Dobro. In 1981, this music took Mark to Indiana to play and record with a five-piece “Newgrass Band” called The Brown County Band. At the same time, he was playing harmonica and listening to Junior Wells and Charlie Musselwhite.
After returning to the East Coast, Mark dug deeper into the blues, playing more electric guitar. When he was playing progressive Newgrass, his style had the influence of the blues. Now delving into the blues, his playing has the razors edge and speed that was developed from years of flat-picking. This combination of the lightning fast bluegrass style and his soulful blues playing are the key components of Mark’s sound today.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Mark started his own Chicago-style blues band that ranged anywhere from three to ten pieces on a given night and was a staple on the New England club circuit for over a dozen years. Many of the gigs were played as a “power trio” with Mark singing and filling the band out with scorching electric blues guitar. Other times, the band included a keyboard or sax player and/or the addition of the Newport Navy Band Horn Section.
 In 2000, Mark began to gravitate back to his acoustic roots and the studio became his classroom. After making a decision to pursue a solo career, Mark took all of the lessons that he had learned over the last 25 years and constructed an act that was as hard- hitting as the band, but all in a one-man show. As such, he’s opened for Johnny Winter, Robert Cray, James Cotton and others.
Today, his show includes many traditional Delta blues numbers with a Chicago blues slant that transforms each tune into a “tour de force.” Included are the blazing flat-picking techniques that grabbed audiences in Mark’s bluegrass days, the hot slide guitar playing that creates a mood and timbre change in each set and the showmanship that was developed from his years of experience. 
“On Smokin' Blues I have also tried to match the intensity of playing in a club setting, Mark states. “In these settings I take the tunes that I love, interpret them and do everything possible to make that connection with the audience.”
For more information, visit www.marktsmall.com.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blacks, Whites & the Blues - Mark T. Small - New release review



I just received my advance copy of Mark T. Small's new release. It is a mix of uptempo, Piedmont style, rag and delta blues and nicely executed. Mark has a solid voice and the recording is well done.If you like the acoustic finger picking blues I'll bet you'll like this one.

SCOTTSDALE
, AZ – Solo Delta and Chicago-style blues guitarist Mark T. Small announces a September 20 release date for his new CD, Blacks, Whites & the Blues, on Lead Foot Music. The new album features 14 songs bursting with his trademark incendiary blues guitar work on a variety of vintage instruments that emphasize his improvisational playing within the framework of classic Delta and Chicago-style blues idioms.

“I started developing the solo show because I love the freedom associated with playing alone,” he states “Musically, you can frame a song and take it wherever it leads you during the performance. I hear so much of that when I listen to guys like John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins. They break the rules and the song is all about the moment. The more I play solo, the more I prefer it over a band situation – It is absolute musical freedom. Occasionally, I still do strap on an electric guitar and play in a band setting. I love doing that and could not live without it, but my first passion is playing solo.”

Mark T. Small will support the release of Blacks, Whites & the Blues with a series of showcase performances at clubs in Scottsdale and the southwest as well as his former stomping ground in the New England area. Blacks, Whites & the Blues will be available for CD sale at both CD Baby and Mark’s website, http://www.marktsmall.com/; and for digital download sales at all the major sites such as iTunes, Amazon.com, 7 Digital, EMusic, IHeart Radio, Liquid Digital, Deezer, Napster and Rhapsody.