Martin Stephenson is one of the many artists who broke through in the early eighties and who has managed to retain not only his fan base but also his credibility despite the fact that his career has taken a number of twists and turns and seen him move with ease from eighties pop through to roots music and a few other stops in between. Born in County Durham on the 27th July 1961, Martin first became aware of music as a teenager. In fact it was down to an older friend at a youth club that the young Martin first heard the music of Frank Zappa. Other influences however were about to be brought to bear as Punk exploded across the nation and Martin was fired up enough over the 'anyone can do it' ethic to take up the guitar himself.
Whilst working as a carpet fitter by day Martin was during the evening playing guitar in his first band the Strange Relations. By the age of nineteen and yet another dead end day job, Martin heard Runaway Boys by the Stray Cats on the radio and was inspired enough to give up his day job and fully immerse himself in music by at first busking on the streets. Shortly after however Martin formed the Daintees and things began to move quickly. By 1982 the band were recording and were one of the first bands to sign to the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne label Kitchenware who released the band's debut single Roll On Summertime. Shortly after Martin and the band signed to the major London Records Label.
Following the break up of the Daintees, Martin headed out on a tour of Highland café's and folk clubs, which was probably a kick against the commercial direction the record label, had wanted Martin to move in. By the time of his album Yogi In My House Martin had signed with the independent Demon records label. The album was again an eclectic affair although considered by many to be one of his best albums. The albums featured tracks such as Dance The Last Goodbye and Gone The Gypsy Davey, which reflected Martin's roots influences. The album also contained performances from friends like Jools Holland and more importantly Pauline Murray who herself was another native of the North East and had fronted the punk band Penetration. The album was one of two released in 1995 the other album being Sweet Misdemeanour.
The rootsier side of Martin's influences however have never been far from the surface and indeed as far back as the debut with the Daintees on Boat To Bolivia there had been a track dedicated to The Reverend Gary Davis (Tribute To The Late Gary Davis).
The Disciples of Merle and Doc was another of Martin's more roosty and acoustic albums from 2000 and was originally available from Martin's website.
The album is a tribute to the music of Merle Travis and Doc Watson and has proved to be one of Martin Stephenson's more popular albums. This recording also features performances by The Moonshiners and Tommy Beavitt on fiddle and guitar and has been re mastered for release.