Shades of Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews there may be but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives.
Another guitar laden singer songwriter he may be, but in these transient times where musicians have a seemingly inevitable disposability, the longevity of Martyn's thirty year career suggests he has something special to offer.
Martyn's come a long way since the days when Epic signed him after selling 30,000 copies of his self-financed album 'An Aching and A Longing'. Since those days he has had 5 Top 50 UK chart hits and has toured with, amongst others, Art Garfunkel, Ani DiFranco, Jools Holland, Suzanne Vega, Chris DeBurgh, Runrig, Celine Dion, Shirley Bassey, Joan Armatrading, and Mark Cohn. In addition to being awarded Best Male Artist at the 2004 BBC Welsh Music Awards, he has also received many humanitarian plaudits and awards, with themes of social justice being a constant presence throughout his music. October 2010 saw the release of Martyn's 31st album release 'Under Lemonade Skies', enthusiastically described by Radio 2's Bob Harris as 'his biggest album to date'.
Martyn's ability to transcend preconceptions about how one man and a guitar can sound is testament to his talent and stage presence. In fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there's more than one musician on stage. He continues to tour extensively on both sides of the Atlantic, building up a constantly expanding and enthusiastic fan base. The shows are intelligently constructed, Martyn presenting his audience with challenging narratives and with an intensity that hits with the power of a right hook. He tempers this with songs that comfort and speak to the soul. His great improvisation and immediate topicality lead to an organic fluidity that makes every show different. His comfortable rapport and conversation with his audiences, his sense of humour and his ability to make everyone feel at home lie right at the heart of the evenings success.
Juxtaposition is a key theme in Martyn's work. The simplicity and the complexity of the human condition and all that it encompasses is underpinned with a heady promise of hope. There is a versatility to Martyn's music that is hard to categorise. Many have tried, resulting in labels such as Folk, Rock, Soul, Folk Funk and Americana; all of which somehow miss the mark. But sometimes music doesn't need a defining genre and with the ability to articulate a sense of the bigger picture, Martyn's music and social commentary manage to empower and speak for many. His songs are pictures, and stories, and feelings all put to music and delivered by a master craftsman. Built around memories and observations alike, his work is inspired by all that's good in the world and also that with which society often falls short. Because of this the music can often be both outspoken and challenging. Yet the tenderness with which the vocals are effortlessly wrapped around Martyn's rich melodies gives the songs an exquisite beauty that ensures they are remembered long after the evening has drawn to a close.
Martyn Joseph. A unique talent driven by passion and love for his trade, continues to write, sing and play from the heart. It's a road he's been travelling for most of his life and, as he often tells his audience, 'you keep turning up and so will I.'
"Britain`s best kept secreta challenging songwriter and a compelling courageous live performer"
MoJo 4* review
"One of the most charismatic and electrifying performers in Britain todaytough and passionate"
Tom Robinson BBC 6 music
"One of acoustic music's most original voices, and most forward looking of his generation of singer/songwriters"
"A profouond experience"
The Boston Globe
"Songs of social commentary as much as love, with a rootsy sensibility"
"Written with craft, performed with passion"
"He is one of our most intelligent writers. He gets better and better like the finest of wines"
Bob Harris BBC Radio 2
Arcata, CA 95521
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