"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" Achievement for Blues on the Internet Presented by The Blues Foundation
Originally hailing form Oklahoma, a meandering trail saw Selby eventually hanging his hat in Nashville where, against the odds, he went on to establish himself as one of Hitsville USA's ones to watch, clocking up hits for the likes of Tricia Yearwood and country chart Number 1 bullseyes for both Kenny Wayne Sheppard and the Dixie Chicks.
Little wonder then that his 2000 guitar-centric rock and blues debut album "More Storms Comin'" came as something as a surprise to those expecting a country pop flavoured offering. "More Storms Comin'" succeeded in bringing Selby to the attention of a wider rock oriented audience far more sympathetic to it's smoky barroom electric boogie than their bemused country cousins.
"Dirt" pretty much picks up from where it's predecessor left off, continuing to touch base with the same Mick Taylor era Rolling Stones vibe, most noticeably with the opening track "Reason Enough". This is not necessarily a bad thing when kept on a tight reign, 1970s retro chic of this kind currently wowing a sizeable chunk of the CD buying public (ask Ryan Adams' accountant).
All power chords and swagger, "Reason Enough" serves as a strong opener, one of several points on "Dirt" where things are also reminiscent of a younger Steve Earle.
"Back Door to My Heart" winks in the direction of Selby's country pop leanings and it's easy to understand his appeal to the kind of hit-hungry country artistes whom he's previously been happy to assist. Things go slightly awry with the formulaic "Willin' to Burn" but, even at it's least convincing, "Dirt" manages to remain a cut above the usual cards/whiskey/trains etc. clichés trotted out by so many others at times when the muse has switched to answerphone.
Things pick up again with the piano based and tastefully horn-enhanced "Moon Over my Shoulder" and, whilst Selby's vocals often sound more confident during the times when the band and his own guitar playing is kicking up a storm behind him, the quality meter then remains comfortably within the red throughout the remainder of the album.
Neither "Easier to Lie" or "Unforgiven" outstay their welcome and lead nicely into the album's strong closing cuts, "Goin' Home" and "Dirt", the only two tracks credited solely to Selby.
It's "Desire", however, buried midpoint at the heart of the CD, which reminds you what all the fuss is about. A slow smouldering fuse burns through some memorable hooks before eventually igniting a fret-punishing burnout, Selby giving the lyrics his best soulful shot and this time managing to hit the target square on.
It's exactly this kind of fare that's likely to eventually break Selby bigtime via some serendipitous pickup of FM radio airplay. "Desire" is one of those songs which is easy to imagine picking up airtime momentum and snowballing into a monster.
"Dirt" lends further weight to the opinion held by an increasing number of people that Selby's destined to make the switch from tour bus to limo. They're probably right, and whilst his ride may not be here yet "Dirt" certainly bumps him further up the queue.
Contact for more information: www.MARKSELBY.COM or www.VANGUARDRECORDS.COM/SELBY
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