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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harman in perfect harmony, 19 Nov 2013
This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
Jo Harman's star has been in the ascendency for some time now, with the release of her debut album it should soar in to the stratosphere. This is an album of unparalleled quality, beauty and power and I have heard nothing to better it this year.
Jo Harman has a truly spellbinding voice that captures your attention and does not let it go. The range of her vocal is quite astonishing and throughout the eleven tracks on the album Harman demonstrates the full range of her voice, delivering with power, the softness and lightness of a feather and always with conviction.
Please don't run away with the idea that this is a one woman show however, as the tight band that surround Harman are never less than superb and clear masters of their craft.
Categorising Harman and this album as Blues is way too simplistic and does Jo and her band members a huge disservice, Dirt On My Tongue has clear Blues splashes but equally there is soul, gospel and balladry that rival the best. Mike Davis's production is crystal clear but not clinical and provides the space for Harman's vocals to flourish and the band to also shine through. At points, played on good Hi-Fi you can almost hear Jo's breath and you can certainly hear Davis's fingers wrapping round the fret board.
So the eleven excellently crafted and positioned songs. The first thing that strikes you as you sit back and let it wash over you is that this must have taken a lot out of Harman to write and record because the brave lady lays her heart and soul totally bare. The songs and lyrics tell of deep love, love lost, fighting for survival and the loss of a parent.
Album opener I Shall Not Be Moved is a statement from the start a gospel tinged ballad that literally stops you dead in your tracks and demands your attention
This Is My Amnesty nestling at track three is surely destined to be become a live set list favourite. It is simply a beautiful arrangement built on a pleading soulful vocal from Harman. Lifted to great heights by intuitive acoustic and coursing slide guitar from Mr Davis. The lyrics are heart rending and my interpretation is that Harman is trying to reach out and save a deeply personal relationship.
Following swiftly on in Heartstring, this is a clear gear change, built on a choppy jangling riff from Davis, a velvet rich vocal from Harman underpinned with glorious vocal harmonies. The track builds in musical and lyrical power resulting in a crescendo of dizzyingly high notes from Harman.
No let up as next rack I Don't Live Here Anymore displays its colours in the form of an uplifting country tinged tune, generated by some superb acoustic guitar shot through with searing classic Country and Western slide. Once more Harman stands astride the musical arrangements with a pin sharp vocal.
If you have seen Jo Harman live you will have definitely the heard the next track; Sweet Man Moses. You can do nothing but stop whatever you are doing and listen to the intensely personal wrought lyrics in which Harman sings of the tragic loss of her father and the clear support given to her sibling brother. The emotion is so raw it is palpable and the lyrics will resonate with anyone that has lost a parent and helped and been helped by a brother or sister. Praise here must also go to the man on the keys, Mr Steve Watts who comes down to Harman's level and wraps her in his beautiful piano runs. Glorious!
Nothing this far prepares you for Underneath the River, as I listened to it for the first time a huge grin spread across my face. Harman lets the rock chick surface in all its glory here delivering an aggressive clipped vocal and she is for once, vying for supremacy with Mike Davis who lays down some serious licks and full on riffs. Whilst the tight rhythm section give the melody a metronomic groove. I just know this will become a live favourite.
The pace slows again on Fragile, a totally apt title where it is evident Harman is putting her emotional vulnerabilities out there for all to witness. Harman's voice displays fragility itself here, not a weakness, a genuine fragility apparent when something comes straight from the heart. Just listen to the poignant narrative from the lyrics.
On penultimate track Better Woman the pace quickens and we are treated to perhaps the most contemporary song on the album. An initial country style hue gives way to a rock out as Davis stomps on proceedings with some really tasty clipped riffs and in the mid-section, a monstrous demonstration of slide. What does this do to Harman, it simply allows her to give full vent to the frightening power of her voice as she rises over the crescendo of six string power to rail and wail. To give full texture, the backing vocals are perfect. Love this track!
Album closer What You Did For Me takes us out where we came in 50 minutes ago. Another revelation of the pain of a relationship break up, whilst holding the hope of reconciliation. This lady has the ability to put ordinary folk's thoughts in to words. Once more the band knows how to pitch their accompaniment at the right level. Davis delivers an echo tinged melody and another stunning piece of slide playing that almost sounds like Harman's tears. Whilst Watts add soft textures with his wonderfully dextrous playing.
53 minutes and it is over and all you want to do is press repeat.
I cannot praise this album too highly, it is a must have. As a listener, not a musician this whole album touches my soul in a way that I cannot recall happening before.
All I can do is thank Jo and her wonderful band and..... press that replay button again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishng new talent, 25 April 2014
By 
Philip Couch "Couchster" (Chelmsford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
Jo Harman has a voice that simply gives you goosebumps. I love the way she so subtly emotes; sure, she can let rip, but it's the restraint and control she uses that fully conveys the emotional impact of her songs. Ah, the songs! There are broad brushstrokes of gospel, soul and rhythm and blues all over this album, but it's the quality of the songwriting that makes it such a keeper. Each subsequent play brings forth a different nuance in her voice and, indeed the songs. And there are some wonderful production touches; in Fragile, when the piano just drops away leaving her voice to carry on accompanied, is a masterstroke of economy. I can't wait for her next release and I would dearly love to see her live. I guess I'll just have to make do with YouTube for the time being.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 26 May 2014
This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
This is a wonderful album and I agree with every word others here have written about Jo being a rising star.

However, according to her fb page any physical copies ordered from Amazon are pirated (downloads are ok). So, if you want to get the real deal order direct from Jo herself at [...].

There's also a live album from her appearance at the Royal Albert Hall last year which isn't available anywhere else and which I'd highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, 18 May 2014
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This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
I hope mp3 tracks do not age because this is played daily and I still find a new sound with every listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rising Star, 11 Feb 2014
By 
David Wixey "Blues Badger" (Gloucestershire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
Jo Harman is one of the rising stars of the British Blues scene and this album shows off the full potential of the lady.
Well worth catching live too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful....a truly.landmark record, one of the best ever debuts, in any genre, 5 Jan 2014
This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
And here's what the professional reviewers think.....I can but only agree. A beautiful, beautiful, heartfelt and sincere record.

"Brilliant...get it!' Mail On Sunday
"A must hear album" Jazz FM
"On course to be the finest female soul and blues vocalist in the UK" Daily Mirror
Stunning...our tip for 2013. Harman's music mainlines the human soul' The Blues Magazine (9 out of 10)
"A landmark album" (9 stars) Country Music Magazine
"A veritable superstar on the British blues and roots scene, she really is that good....the voice is a glorious instrument, immensely expressive and with a tone that can send shivers down the spine...this is an astounding record, timeless, rich and powerful ...it's this disc that truly says that she is a star of our time.'" Tone Monkey
`What a voice!' - Classic Rock
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good album, 21 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
I like every track on this album. Fragile is a very good track. Have played the cd over and over again. Look forward to hearing more of this lady.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A class act, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
A really to class debut album from a quality artist. I've played it over & over again and will continue to do so. Jo is also fantastic live which is how I got to know about her.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 July 2014
This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
Simply Superb a Stunning Album what a voice and she is British. I cant wait for future albums.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 12 Aug 2014
This review is from: Dirt On My Tongue (Audio CD)
LOVELY VOICE
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Dirt On My Tongue
Dirt On My Tongue by Jo Harman (Audio CD - 2013)
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