CD review: Bex Marshall – The House of Mercy
Albert Collins is famously quoted as saying, “I sure love what you’re trying to do.” That sentiment easily fits the new release The House of Mercy from rising U.K blues sensation Bex Marshall. While the album showcases Marshall’s formidable talents as a vocalist with a raspy delivery that draws instant comparisons to Janis Joplin along with her solid slide guitar chops and songwriting skill that create a Delta Blues-meets-country gospel sound. Her choice to self produce the album in a late 80’s sonic with a highly compressed rhythm section and multi layered vocals and keyboards takes away the edge a real roots record needs. Strong songs like the swamp rocker “Love,” featuring a sizzling resonator guitar solo, the slinky “Rattlesnake,” and country foot stomper “Tough Times,” carry the album. But Marshall’s faux southern drawl becomes pantomime on the hokey “Gone Fishin” and the ridiculous “Bite Me,” a song that is a bit too “big 80’s hair band,” to be believable. The real highlights of the album are the sailing bluegrass instrumental “Big Man,” featuring members of Hayseed Dixie, and the acoustic folk ballad “Barry’s Song,” which point towards a more promising direction for Marshall’s talent.
Originally published at Innocent Words March 2013
Rick J Bowen