Mark Telesca has a new solo acoustic blues album, Higher Vibrations, out, and it is a smooth-sailing winner. With a total of sixteen songs, 9 of them originals and the other 7 pre- WWII blues songs, the whole album fits together perfectly. Mark is a skilled finger-picker and an amazing storyteller, and he knows how to get every ounce of feeling out of a song.
Take his own “99 Years” or “Black Dress,” the first two songs on the CD and thus setting the mood for the whole thing beautifully. You are immediately reminded of how powerful acoustic guitar and vocal can be, all by themselves! After all, many of the early greats represented in the covers performed just this way. Listen to “Come On In My Kitchen” and “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” and you clearly hear Telesca’s excellent renditions as well as the echoes of those who came before him.
Another song to pay close attention is “Papa’s on the Housetop,” a raucous number written by pianist Leroy Carr in 1930. This version is a lot sparer than most I have heard, but it works this way!
There’s not a note or a vocal second in this album that is not just what it should be. Telesca is obviously enjoying himself and you will too. He has a wonderful ability to connect with his audience. This is a great listen any time, whether alone or in company.