September 25, 2010
At first glance Martyn Joseph is just another gifted singer songwriter. First impressions are there to mislead, of course… Joseph’s ambition is broader than entertainment, deeper than commerce. Some musicians want to move your feet, some just want to move you; Martyn Joseph wants to move heaven and earth.
Somewhere back in the middle distance, Martyn Joseph emerged from the pack and we began to notice. For a moment there he might have been a pop-star, certainly a protest-singer, a balladeer now-and-then, a Celtic rock star before they were in vogue, a folk troubadour, and then… just Martyn Joseph.
Darkness on the edge of Cardiff. If he has a reputation onstage as a raconteur, extemporizing lyrics to fit every occasion, his songs have always been infected with a discreet but defiant god-bothering, music more interested in the forgotten than the remembered, the way things might be than the way they have become. It is less the ghost of Tom Jones than a Holy Ghost music, an aching and a longing for another way, another place, where you can treasure the questions that have no answers. Depending on where he was at the time, some of these songs have had a fortune spent on coloring them in, while others are the second-take line drawings from the home studio, or Polaroid’s snapped live in the back of beyond.
“Songs of social commentary as much as love, with a rootsy sensibility” –Time Out
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