"Mark Hodgson: Extreme Blues"

by Mike Somers

This has been a very busy year so far for Mark Hodgson, the hard harpin’ swamp blues sensation and King Snake Records recording artist. Coming fresh off the grand opening of the Orlando, Florida House of Blues club where Mark and his Extreme Blues Band were the headlining act, his current release on King Snake Records, EXTREME BLUES, is quickly gathering very favorable reviews as a sure bet for the "Best Independent Release" of 1997.

Starting back with 1981’s SURVIVAL IN A TOURIST TOWN and right up to the present with a steady live performance schedule and appearances on three King Snake compilations released this year, all the years of club dates and hard work are putting Mark Hodgson in the national blues scene spotlight. EXTREME BLUES (KS 309) is the latest in an impressive collection of material full of mojo soul blues power, crisp and original stylings, and plenty of swamp king attitude.

I recently caught up with Mark shortly after the House of Blues grand opening, and he kindly took a few minutes to talk with me about his new CD and where his fast-rising career started. "Sure, I have all kinds of influences that flow through me, like Little Walter, John Mayall, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, but I really try to release a very contemporary fire and brimstone fury in the material I write and perform. I think that this latest record is really a showcase for all the types of blues, which have evolved from the very traditional to something that is very alive and vital today," says Mark.

Many first-rate musicians have lined up to sing the deep blue praises of Mark Hodgson after working with him on various projects and sharing stages primarily throughout the South. Even Junior Wells, the legendary Chicago harmonica king, once said to Mark, "You was born to blow that harp!"

Mark Hodgson’s latest release, EXTREME BLUES, is a showcase of real roots music delivered with gut-punching honesty and first-rate musicianship. Standout cuts include "Straight Line," "Voodoo Tequila," "Xpress Train," and "Mighty Big Shoes to Fill," and all the other cuts slide effortlessly through an exciting variety of styles that solidify Mark Hodgson’s standing as a present day blues master.

The future is certainly bright for the contemporary blues music scene when artists the caliber of Mark Hodgson and his Extreme Blues Band offer such real and honest American roots music that is delivered straight from the heart. Mark welcomes contact through his e-mail address of muddyharp@ aol.com or King Snake Records (407-323-6767).

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