John Martyn has been around for donkey’s years. Sometime, in the 80’s he decided that enunciation was for wimps, and he started to sing like a wookie. More recently, he’s lost a leg, put on enough weight that resembles Jabba the Hutt (two star wars, references in one review; hmmm). He must be passed it now.

John Martyn started off as a folkie, more or less invented trip hop along the way; his music is mesmeric and beguiling. In his prime, he could take the stage on his own, with his Les Paul and fill the entire room, entrancing the audience. I think he was the second musician (not including the pub blues bands that were the stable of my youth) that I ever saw live. I’ve seen him from the North to the South of the country; Solid Air graces my mp3 player at great regularity; in many ways, he has been a critical part of the music that has changed me from the time we got our first record player, to the washed out, muso, gig junkie that I am now. He is passed his best now, but he’s made up for his own lack of mobility with a band, to fill the sound that he used to. This tour is the Grace and Danger tour; the music was sad and heart-breaking at points. Solid Air itself has been lent new immediacy, for me, with the loss of a good friend to suicide earlier in the year.

This was one of the most moving gigs that I’ve been too for years; I was left silent till the day after (unusual for me). One of the best gigs of the year.

Originally published on my old blog site.

One Comment

  1. An Exercise in Irrelevance » Blog Archive » Roy Harper at Bridgewater Hall says:

    […] this, Roy along with John Martyn ( (who was responsible for the second real gig I went to), became a regular. I would see him play […]

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