Harry Marte & BIG PIT

a blue line

You know that every single word this man sings with his creaking voice is genuine. Marte is like the wind that hits your face when you stand at the bow of an ocean liner. Fresh, salty and present.


The album cover of A BLUE LINE leaves nothing to doubt: you will hardly find synthpop from the eighties or garage rock from Seattle here. Nor some type of electro-blues Gangnam-style construct from Berlin. Hip factor? Zero.
Or maybe one hundred (!) – depending on whether you are willing to throw your normal world views overboard.
Harry Marte & Big Pit play Americana Folk, Blues and Country with a dash of Rock ́n ́Roll. Mind you – the musicians come from Austria and Switzerland (alpine countries!!!) and not from Arizona, Tennessee, Texas or Colorado. But their sound is still so much Wild West that you might think they have eaten too much bacon and beans. There are good reasons for this.
Let‘s start with Harry Marte, song writer, singer and band leader. Born in 1957. With his wild shock of hair and his blue eyes,
the 18-year old Marte mainly looked across the Big Pond for his musical preferences: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and later John Hiatt and Chris Whitley influenced him. Movies like Easy Rider or literature by Cormac McCarthy made him long for this all-encompassing freedom of the West touted in the Old World at least in those days, the 1970s, the decade of his youth. Relatively late, however, after restless years of travelling in foreign countries, when he was in his early 30s, he started playing the guitar, writing songs. Initially, he chose a career as graphic designer, idea scout and art worker. But he never ceased resorting to his musical stories to escape everyday life. „The way he looks into himself when he puts his left hand around the neck of his Martin and the fingers of
his right hand touch the strings: in just a few seconds of contemplation he calls up the world about that he is going to sing in a moment.“ This is how Michael Köhlmeier, bestselling author from Austria and Marte‘s friend and fan, graphically describes this moment. And indeed – the physiognomy of this silver wolf alone suggests that he knows the things his songs are about, when it says in one of his songs: „Fate dangles by a honey coloured thread of silk …“
Marte‘s songs allow insights into a soul that has seen quite a lot – sometimes also using his songs‘ protagonists as substitutes, as this might make it more bearable for him to be so close to the core of the matter he is singing about. His physical build lets you think more of wrestler (or warrior?) than a bard, who does not shy away from reflecting on the fragility of human dignity, and who uses metaphors like, for example, „When both sides of your lovely nose twitch like the wings of a dying butterfly“ … so you can look at it whatever way you want: You know that every single word this man sings with his creaking voice is genuine. Marte is like the wind that hits your face when you stand at the bow of an ocean liner. Fresh, salty and present.
All the musicians who gather around Harry Marte are one generation younger, but equally influenced by the music of the West, by Blues, Bluegrass, Jazz and the legendary songwriters. The view these men have of the West and the dreams of Marte‘s generation are much more critical, but the inspiration of the music is the same. The interpretation is diðerent, though. BIG PIT approach Marte‘s powerful stories in a creative and unconventional way, creating colourful pictures of life about loneliness, love, death and the devil. All of them look up at Marte, the experienced musician, who knows every trick, as their chief, shaman, storyteller who has quite some head start in the flow of life.
Claude Meier and Urs Vögeli, Swiss musicians playing bass and guitar, uncompromising in their musical orientation, create the width, the harmonious carpet on that Marte‘s songs can spread and penetrate the audience. Alfred Vogel at the drums clanks and rattles in the known manner, awakening the ghosts and parallel worlds in Marte‘s poetry.
As guest, Hendrix Ackle merges the smooth sounds of a Fender Rhodes piano with BIG PIT, and also Shirley Grimes whose longing backing vocals can be heard on the title track A BLUE LINE and NAKED RIDE.
And – oh yeah!!! – that sounds like Americana, Folk, Country and a bit of Rock ́n ́Roll. When you hear it live, it will still sound a little diðerent, new every time, unique, but always original and equally analogue.
Are you allowed to do that? When you come from the valleys of the Alps? All what BIG PIT have to say about this is WE DON ́T GIVE A DAMN!!! And: GRÜEZI UND UF WIEDERLUGA!!! – HELLO AND SEE YOU!!!