Dom Martin – Buried In The Hail
This Belfast, Ireland award-winning musician is quite the blues enthusiast. However, he opens his LP with a beautiful acoustic instrumental “Hello In There,” (not the classic John Prine tune) & laces it with the sound of children playing. Nice intro before his guitar ignites with vintage-sounding notes & a deep late John Campbell growl (“Little Coffins”). Martin has authenticity virtually immediately on this 11-cut set.
The growl doesn’t persist since Dom (guitars/vocals) controls the outlay of his groove. The lyrics are quite original but that’s to be expected from an Irish songwriter. Some of the best poets/writers in the world are Irish. The magic is in how Dom Martin absorbed the American deep South delta sound, the Don Nix-Memphis frenetic groove & the dusty juke joint mood in his vocals & through his strings.
This would go off like a rocket in the deepest Southern fish fry joint with a greasy jukebox, sawdust on the floors, tight skirts & two-inch stogies. In an atmosphere that’s deliciously laid out for Irish lads to roll up their sleeves to. Come on, you must know who John L. Sullivan is. Or the red-haired lass Maureen O’Hara. I’d duke it out in a pub or juke joint to this music for her. Dom will watch your back.
Comparisons can’t be set aside — Dom Martin has many that he suggests but does not rely solely on. The slow boil of “Government,” is steeped in the magical tones of the late John Martyn. This is a wonderful respectful performance capturing not only the musical vitality but the soul & tonality, intonation & phrasing of Martyn who was a master songsmith.
The 40-minute CD recorded in Ireland is Dom’s third. Buried In The Hail (Drops Sept 22–Forty Below Records) is a stirring group of songs wound as tight as a drum head. “Belfast Blues,” is another John Martyn-inspired invocation. Full-bodied & fitfully produced by Grammy-nominated Chris O’Brien & Graham Murphy. This was captured with a sprinkle of excellence that was generously doled out. I could listen to music like this all day.
It all goes down easy like a black & tan. A touch of Tom Waits, a slather of John Campbell (who was a little more blues-based than John Martyn) & Martyn himself who had the sophistication & angst (“John Wayne”).
While “Buried In the Hail,” has the creepy rootsy dark-hued expression found on The Blasters’ “Dark Night,” — conjured here quite eloquently — it’s all worth listening to more than once.
Highlights – “Hello In There,” “Daylight I Will Find,” “Government,” “Belfast Blues,” “Howlin’,” “Buried In the Hail” & “Laid To Rest.”
Musicians – Ben Graham (bass/double bass guitars) & Jonny Mellroy (drums).
Color image courtesy of Jim Heal. CD @ Amazon + https://fortybelowrecords.com/store/p/buried-hail-dom-martin & https://www.dommart.in/