Britain's two leading contemporary music magazines Q, and, MoJo, respectively, describe Martyn Joseph as having 'a depth, resonance and emotional punch, which belies comparisons', and as being 'an artist of enduring worth'. Meanwhile The Guardian was transfixed by this gifted and gracious Welshman's 'burnished voice' whilst Tom Robinson of BBC 6 Music and iconic songwriter himself, regards Martyn as one of Britain's 'most charismatic and electrifying performers'. The Boston Globe concluded that the man was a ‘profound experience’.
Such press plaudits, and there are many more to choose from, would make any publicist purr with pleasure, but for Martyn Joseph, he regards them in a detached, almost incidental kind of way. For Martyn, 'it's the song that matters'.
Yet such is Martyn's stature as an acoustic artist of almost hypnotic ability that BBC Radio 2, Britain's most listened to radio network, featured Martyn in their peak-time series on Singer/Songwriters. To be awarded the garland of your own programme on the Sony 'Station Of The Year', and placed alongside the likes of Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson and Mary Chapin Carpenter really says it all about Martyn's abilities.
Martyn's 20 year career has embraced some notable achievements including 5 Top 40 UK chart positions, with such songs as 'Dolphins Make Me Cry', 'Working Mother' and 'Let's Talk About It In The Morning', and appearances and tours with, amongst others, Suzanne Vega, Marc Cohn, Joan Armatrading, Clannad, Chris De Burgh, Jools Holland, Art Garfunkel, and even, Celine Dion. However, for Martyn, these various accomplishments, satisfying though they are, count as just part of the process, the necessary presentation aspect. As he says, 'Really what I do is try and write songs that might make a difference'. His touring work and appearances over the years, on both sides of the Atlantic, have helped to establish this gifted and gracious Welshman as one of the foremost singer/songwriters of his generation. As Janis Ian said of sharing a stage with Martyn 'I loved working with him. I loved listening to him, I'd love to work with him again, anytime, anyplace’.
Martyn's particular strength is in the lyrical narrative of his songs, be they contemporary protests against injustice and inhumanity, a musical psalm to the fulfilment and fragilities of love, or a piercing précis of social history, 'it's the song that can soothe, explain, and even in a small way save us'. In this manner he carries on in the tradition of the six string balladeer as both catalyst and interpreter of our raddled and rewarding times, our personal and communal stories sung out loud in the spirit of Woody Guthrie, Ewan MacColl, Hank Williams and Bruce Springsteen. That tradition, and sound, that thankfully still emerges from The Hallowed Hobo's Hall of Fame.
Across a 10 year cycle of albums from the Sony days of 'Being There' to his recent two studio albums ‘Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home’ and ‘Deep Blue’, Martyn's song catalogue is an awesomely impressive archive of our times, our tribulations, our wonder and our wounds. Amongst the considerable collection of positive reviews of Martyn's recording and live work, the two regularly recurring words describing, in particular, his performances are 'passion' and 'humour'. One observer after seeing Martyn in concert likened the experience and content to 'the beautiful business of being alive with all its jokes, absurdity and sadness, seared by music for the heart and head'. When you encounter Martyn Joseph, you'll hear likewise.........