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Thursday, October 4th, 2018
7:30 PM
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Martin Simpson has transcended borders and oceans to quietly become a superb storyteller and musician of great depth and unquestionable taste. Stephen Fearing

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.

What's it like being the best guitar player in the world? Martin's modesty and grace prevented him from answering this BBC Radio 4 interviewer's question recently, but the facts speak for themselves.

40 years after he recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, in 1976, Martin is known as a guitarist of formidable talent. Equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions, he is consistently named as one of the very finest fingerstyle guitar players in the world.

He is listed in Gibson Guitars' Top 30 Acoustic Guitarists of all time, and Acoustic Guitar readers voted him number 12 guitarist in the world in 2005.

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.

Martin continues to collaborate with a dazzling array of people from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons are among the great musicians he has worked with.

In recent years, he has been a lynchpin in the award-winning Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and, in 2015, recorded Murmurs, an exciting new album with Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr. Martin's eagerly awaited new solo album entitled Trails and Tribulations will be released in September 2017 on Topic Records. Album guests include Andy Cutting, Kathryn Tickell, Nancy Kerr and John Smith.

He has had the most nominations of any performer in the 18 years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, an astonishing 31 times, 12 of those as Musician of the Year, winning that particular accolade twice.

A virtuoso player without question, but above all Martin Simpson conveys his diverse treasure trove of material from the heart, performing with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty. A true master of his art.

Martin is in a class of his own. He is such an expressive player; he is ingenious in his use of the guitar. You can listen to one of his songs and three or four minutes in, he has only used the top four strings and not even played a bass note yet, and when he does, it feels like an orchestra coming in. His clarity of playing is just amazing. Jackson Browne

One of the virtuoso instrumentalists of the English music scene 'Sounds better than ever' **** 4 Stars The Guardian

Simpson has become a fine interpreter of traditional and other songs, as well as a notable writer of his own. The Times

'Simpson's latest is a potent blend of the highest calibreSimpson has never sung or played better' Acoustic Magazine

'One of our finest traditional musicians, Simpson's latest album offers a roving overview of his talents' **** 4 Stars Uncut

'An excellent collection of material drawn from both sides of the Atlantic handled with loving care by Simpson and aided by some of the biggest names in folk' **** 4 Stars Maverick

'Trails & Tribulations'

World renowned guitarist, singer and songwriter Martin Simpson releases his 20th solo album in 40 years 'Trails & Tribulations' on September 1st 2017 via Topic Records. The brand-new studio album, his first new solo work since 2013's widely praised 'Vagrant Stanzas', will be available in standard and deluxe CD, digital download and standard vinyl (the latter through Vinyl 180).

'Trails & Tribulations' is a collection of songs about nature, about travels and about real life stories. There are traditional songs, poems and contemporary songs by great writers, and songs that I had to write because nobody else knew what I wanted to say. I travel, I learn songs, I write and try to get better at the skills required for me to do my job. I look at the world as I pass by, on the road, out of the train window, or as I stop and pay close attention to the square foot under my nose. There is so much to see and to hear and to inspire and to try and understand. I had a huge amount of fun playing and recording these songs, using different instruments, different noises, old friends and new ones, all of whom brought so much to the mix. Martin Simpson, April 2017.

Produced and engineered by Andy Bell, 'Trails & Tribulations' features some of Martin's most inventive playing yet, showcasing his virtuosity on a variety of instruments including acoustic guitars, resonator guitars, Weissenbown lap steel guitar, electric guitars, 5 string banjo, ukulele and voice.

Guest musicians on the new album are: Ben Nicholls (string bass and electric bass guitars), Toby Kearney (drums and percussion), Nancy Kerr (fiddle and viola), Andy Cutting (diatonic accordion and melodeon), John Smith (electric guitar and backing vocals), Helen Bell (strings), Amy Newhouse-Smith (backing vocals) and his daughter Molly Simpson on vocals.

Martin will tour extensively this year, including a headline set at Cambridge Folk Festival in the summer and London's Kings Place in autumn, following the release of 'Trails & Tribulations'. For full tour details: http://www.martinsimpson.com/gigs

Hand in hand with his long and storied solo career, Martin has been central to seminal collaborations like The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and Simpson Cutting Kerr. He has worked with a dazzling array of artists from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons, to mention a few. He is consistently named as one of the very finest acoustic, fingerstyle and slide guitar players in the world and is the most nominated musician in the history of the BBC Folk Awards, with a remarkable 31 nods. A true master of his art.

PRESS/RADIO QUOTES

Martin Simpson in probably made his best album ever shock. ***** fRoots

A master musician on top of his game. **** The Observer

***** - RNR magazine

Outstanding ***** - EDS magazine

Simpson's playing is technically stunning, intricate and exquisite The Guardian

**** A beautiful production. You have to doff your cap Mojo

A classy, elegant and very confident set that doffs its cap to some top-drawer contributions from some of the country's very best musician's and that also benefits from an engineer and producer in mean form. Folkradio

One of the finest fingerstyle and acoustic slide guitarists in the world. Guitar Player

As usual, he doesn't disappoint. Acoustic

OK, it's his best album. How about that?! fRoots

Martin Simpson demonstrates here why he is rightfully seen as a living legend when it comes to the acoustic six-string. Nobody else has the ability to pull off something quite this technically brilliant.a sublime album. Grizzly Folk

www.martinsimpson.com