Today, Diesel (Mark Lizotte) releases his new album, Alone With Blues. A collection of blues classics and rarities, Alone With Blues sees Mark pay tribute to giants like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Otis Rush, Sam Cooke, Leadbelly, and Magic Sam.
For Diesel, the blues are never far away. From solo hits ‘Come To Me’ to ‘Days Like These’ and back to his blues-based 1996 collaboration with Chris Wilson, ‘Short Cool Ones’ and 2009’s ‘Project Blues’, he’s always infused the spirit and the sound into his music.
But unlike anything he has released before, every facet of Alone With Blues has been prepped and cooked by Diesel himself.
Alone With Blues contains 11 tracks of veteran virtuosity from the multiple ARIA award-winning singer and guitarist, augmented by double bass, blues harp, cello, percussion and more, all played and recorded solo at Diesel’s own Sydney studio during the 2020 COVID go-slow.
What began of necessity offered its own challenges: how to best record music that you’ve always considered a collaborative artform, namely the blues, when you’re alone? Diesel’s method was to go deep into each song, to capture what’s special and hypnotic about each, and he was hell-bent on getting those subtleties into the grooves.
Alone With Blues resonates with memories of the late great Chris Wilson, Diesel’s partner on the Short Cool Ones album, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Both Alone With Blues and Short Cool Ones feature Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed classics, while the new ‘All Your Love’ is a Magic Sam barnstormer that had been considered for inclusion a quarter of a century ago. Mostly, though, it’s all about the blues harp: “I put a lot of effort into my harmonica playing on this record”, says Diesel, “Chris pushed me to play more harp, which was difficult when I was standing next to him, y’know? But he was always encouraging so what I play on this record, I play for Chris and for Michael Gudinski too, he’s the one that put Chris and I together in the first place.”
Another standout element is the supple and rhythmic double bass, used to effect on ‘Work Song’ (Cannonball Adderley) and a haunting version of Sam Cooke’s ‘Lost and Lookin’ – the current single. “Sam is a benchmark singer for me”, says Diesel, “if there’s any one person I want to sound like, it’s him. His phrasing is insane, immaculate.” With Alone With Blues, Diesel has conjured up one of his most thrilling and affecting albums yet. Fans will see him play tracks from the new album onstage when the Greatest Hits/Alone With Blues Live tour kicks off, you guessed it, after another lockdown!
Diesel – Greatest Hits / Alone With Blues tour
Tickets on sale now from dieselmusic.com.au/shows
Friday 20 August
Griffith Regional Theatre | Griffith, NSW
Saturday 21 August
Albury Entertainment Centre | Albury, NSW
Friday 10 September
Laycock Street Community Theatre | Gosford, NSW
Saturday 11 September
Anita’s Theatre | Thirroul, NSW
Friday 17 September
Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre | Bathurst, NSW
Saturday 18 September
Blue Mountains Theatre | Springwood, NSW
Saturday 19 February
Capitol Theatre | Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 20 February
Dubbo Regional Theatre | Dubbo, NSW
Friday 4 March
The Factory Theatre | Marrickville, NSW
Saturday 5 March
Penrith Panthers | Penrith, NSW
Friday 11 March
Wagga Wagga Civic Centre | Wagga Wagga, NSW
Friday 18 March
Palms At Crown | Melbourne, VIC
Friday 1 April
Centro CBD | Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 2 April
Milton Theatre | Milton, NSW
Thursday 7 April
Jetty Memorial Theatre| Coffs Harbour, NSW
Friday 8 April
Jetty Memorial Theatre | Coffs Harbour, NSW
Saturday 9 April
The Byron Theatre | Byron Bay, NSW