Gritty bluesman Mark Porkchop Holder impresses on Let It Slide.
In 2017, you’d be hard pressed to find someone bluesier than Mark Porkchop Holder. Known for his “anything goes” attitude toward gigs, as well as his gritty stylings, Holder has much reason to be singing the blues, with years of addiction and depression behind him. That said, Let It Slide has immersed as something of a catharsis; it is the sound of a changed man who is as true to his beloved musical influences as ever. A case in point is the album’s opener, the eponymous title track, which takes the form of a brief slide guitar instrumental. From the get-go, the listener is thrust into the heart of Holder’s classic blues sounds, and we’re left there for much of the record.
Holder lifts the intensity in his subsequent tracks, most of which wield ZZ Top-esque guitar distortion as their weapon of choice. On that note, the first half of the record could be said to lack variation. While authenticity is one of the record’s strengths, it often comes at the expense of stylistic diversity. That is, at least, until the latter stages of the album, when a reprise of "Let It Slide" segues nicely into "Stagger Lee", on which Holder nods at metal, while the following track, "Stranger", has roots in country. Holder is at his most impressive when he can melt genre influences together; the album’s second single, "Disappearing", fits the bill here, as country and blues come together seamlessly. While the rest of the album may not be as fluid, Let It Slide is the musical redemption of an authentic bluesman, and that alone deserves mention.