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.