on 9 October 2013
This collection shows Martin in his prime. It could be his best work to date.
His excellent vocal phrasing and expressiveness are spiritually wedded to the songs. As an instrumentalist he has a unique and refined touch. His Tone, range of timbre and dynamics are masterful. He plays finger-style accompaniments which are seamlessly woven into the vocals using guitar or banjo. He interpolates some exquisite slide guitar in places, sometimes plucking head-side of the slide.
There isn't a mediocre track on the CD and as I listen new favourites worm their way into my ears. A few highlights are 'Diamond Joe' with banjo; 'Delta Dreams', an atmospheric road song; an elegantly crafted reworking of a great Dylan song I had forgotten, 'North Country Blues' - plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
I went to see Martin in duo with Martin Taylor at Ashington folk club on Sunday 06/10/2013. Now I'm a big fan of Martin Taylor, but here's not the place to praise him. The duo worked beautifully together and they plan to record a CD together so watch out for it. On the night Martin Simpson sang three songs from the deluxe version of this CD; a superb version of Dylan's 'Blind Willie McTell', 'Waly Waly' and his own song telling the true story of two heroes of Gallipoli, 'Jackie and Murphy', a Geordie and a donkey respectively, written at the insistence of June Tabor. They saved over 300 wounded under deadly fire. The donkey got a medal but the man was denied a posthumous VC for being nominated "under the wrong category of heroism." In the highly unlikely event that I was ever so brave as Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick, I'd rather have the song thanks.
I bought the CD on the night on the strength of this song alone. Do as I did, buy the deluxe limited edition with an 8 track bonus CD of equally wonderful material before it sells out. It's cheaper too on Amazon!.
B. Arthur is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher active in Northumberland UK.
on 21 August 2013
Martin has produced some very fine albums in recent years and this is another one. His skill as a guitar and banjo player is unsurpassable, he has an incredibly smooth technique, with an economy of movement on the fingers of both hands which is well displayed in a youtube clip published alongside the albums release. But what makes him one of the all time greats is the way he crafts his songs and arrangements. I was lucky enough to get the 'deluxe bonus' edition which has a second cd with an additional 8 tracks which includes a sublime reworking of a previously recorded ballad 'Fair Annie' and a Dick Gaughan inspired version of 'The Green Linnet' where Martin shows himself as one of the few folk guitarists who can really make the electric guitar work well with great subtlety in traditional music.
on 1 September 2015
The best acoustic geetarist in the world? better than Richard Thompson? I say YES Martin Simpson should be a big star, he goes from Americana to English Folk with ease, this is his latest album recorded with just him and a geetar and or a banjo.He,s as English as they come but i bet you think he,s American on the Americana songs,he,s that authentic.
on 15 May 2016
I could listen to Martin Simpson, sing the phone book, as long as he accompanied himself with the guitar. This is yet another superb collection of songs, new, borrowed and not so blue. I don't know why it has taken me so long to buy this album. I will let others eulogies about guitar tunings etc, it just sounds good to me.