20.25-21.25, Stage 2 • Sunday
The remarkable intimate solo performances Martin gives go from strength to strength - every gig is a masterclass. He travels the length and breadth of the UK and beyond, giving rapt audiences passion, sorrow, love, beauty, tragedy and majesty through his playing.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players, and a fine banjo-picker to boot, his solo shows bear witness to an artist at the very top of his game. Whether interpreting material from tradition or singing his own potent self-penned songs, Simpson is a remarkable storyteller: captivating and profoundly moving. His own songwriting produced the poignant ‘Never Any Good’, from Prodigal Son, 2007’s Folk Album of the Year.
Guest Curator John Boden on Martin Simpson
I’m not sure exactly how many times I played “Heather Down the Moor” on repeat when I first came across it as a teenager, but the CD had certainly worn out within a week of me buying it. The intricacy and drive of Martin’s solo guitar on that track was like nothing else I’d ever heard. English folk music excels at ‘feel’ and ‘grunge’ and ‘swagger’, but ‘virtuosity’ can get often lost along the way. So it takes a genius like Martin to combine the groove and soul of English folk music with a virtuosity so singular, so extraordinary that really no-one else gets close. And as for his American trad stuff, it really is breathtaking. More recently he’s become one of the foremost songwriters on the scene as well. I have been lucky enough to count him as a friend since moving up to Sheffield in 2005 and our various musical collaborations have been a source of great joy to me.