Mick Clarke – Steppin’ Out | Album Review

Mick Clarke – Steppin’ Out

Rockfold/BGO Records

www.mickclarke.com

CD: 13 Songs, 48:25 Minutes  

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock

You’re never too old to “live the dream,” no matter what it is. Mick Clarke, from Surrey, England, proves this on his new album Steppin’ Out. Reviewers on YouTube have raved, “10 points!” (for his cover of Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues”) and “Bravooo Mike” (for Track 08 on this CD, “Watch Your Step”). He’s currently touring and headlining at the Karlshamn Baltic Festival in Sweden. Mick is a more than halfway-decent guitarist, and his vocals are gritty but a bit flat. On his latest release, he presents nine original numbers plus four covers. All are solid contemporary tracks, leaning toward the fundamental side of the genre rather than the avant-garde. Clarke’s is trucker blues, barroom blues, and live-festival blues for darn sure.

Mick has become an established name on the international touring scene and has played regularly in Europe, Asia and the USA. Praised for his fiery guitar sound, Clarke is the winner of the 2014 Artist Aloud Awards’ “Best International Act” and appeared at Sweden Rock Festival in June 2018, sharing the bill with metal legends Iron Maiden.

The Mick Clarke Band was established in the early 80s and has appeared with artists such as Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winter and Joe Bonamassa. Recent shows have included festival appearances in Italy, Belgium and India, and in July 2017, Mick appeared at the Mostar Blues & Rock festival in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mick has released nineteen solo albums so far.

Although this is primarily a solo album, Dangerous Dave Newman guest stars on harmonica.

The following tune is not only the best one here, but showcases Clarke’s best instrumentation.

Track 03: “Nuthin’burger Blues” – In Millennial parlance, a “nuthin’burger (also spelled “nothingburger”) is a nonstarter or non-event, as in “Due to the diligence of computer scientists and technicians, Y2K turned out to be a nothingburger.” That’s why this instrumental’s title is so ironic. It starts out with some acoustic flair, with electric fire soon added. Melodic and catchy, it will make listeners tap their toes and snap their fingers.  It only clocks in at three minutes and eleven seconds, but that’s perfect for a spin around the dance floor – or jumping up and down, as one’s preference may be.

UK blues veteran Mick Clarke is Steppin’ Out once again, and his guitar possesses much pizzazz!

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