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MARC BLOCK - The Hawthorn Spring

MARC BLOCK - The Hawthorn Spring

Marc Block obviously fell in love with the trad songs he recorded on this album. I can very clearly hear how much he loves listening to the people he got them from. There is a yearning feeling all over this album, to tell stories, to return an echo of favourite songs.

I know that feeling. But it doesn't always mean you must sing those songs. Sometimes you can only listen and yearn. In the trad songs, Marc’s voice sounds like it doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up yet. The phrasing and intonation seem to just miss the mark. I think I'd rather see him live as well, to add facial expressions and stage presence to the experience.

Marc’s own songs and the other non-trad songs suit him much better. Especially on High Water where Marc’s voice suddenly starts to strut it’s stuff and seems much more at home. I found myself skipping back and forth to this song all the time. Really great singing there. Marc’s own songs are heartfelt, but maybe he shouldn’t try to make them sound folky. Why attempt a folk-like Monday-Morning Blues – maybe you should just sing blues?

It’s hard to kill your darlings. But if Marc were to convert to being, say, a blues singer, I think he’d be setting his voice and himself free. There are lots of really good ideas on this album and the musicians are excellently versatile. But as it is, Marc is leaning in too many different directions.

What about a whole blues album next time? I think it would be phenomenal....

Annemarie de Bie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 97 of The Living Tradition magazine.