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‘True Stories’ nominated for fRroots ‘Album of the Year, 2009’
BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2008 winner of Best Album for ‘Prodigal Son’ and Best Original Song for ‘Never Any Good’
“One of the finest acoustic finger-style and slide guitar players in the world”
Twice-winner Musician Of The Year BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and nominated for Musician of the Year 2009
In the last two years, Martin Simpson has been busier, more successful and more visible than ever before in his 37 year career, a veritable overnight sensation at the age of 56.Televised appearances at the Albert Hall at the first ever Folk Prom, and on Later with Jools, and radio appearances with Aled Jones, Mike Harding and Simon Mayo amongst others, garnered extraordinarily good reactions. Numerous festival appearances and a series of almost completely sold out UK tours continued to raise his profile. His 2007 release, "Prodigal Son" was nominated for 5 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and won Album of the Year, and Best Original song for the deeply moving "Never Any Good". At the end of 2008, Simpson returned to the States for the first time in 5 years for a triumphant series of gigs. Having lived and worked in the US for 14 years he is regarded there as a guitar legend, and an enormously influential musician.
2009 saw the release of a new CD, "True Stories" to wide critical acclaim. The material is split 50/50 between traditional songs and tunes and for the first time, Simpson's own original compositions. The music ranges from solo guitar instrumentals and songs to full band arrangements featuring some of the finest musicians anywhere. They are, bass icon Danny Thompson, pedal steel player BJ Cole, Radiohead drummer Phil Selway, Bellowhead front man Jon Boden on fiddle, accordion ace Andy Cutting, ex Page and Plant hurdy gurdy man Nigel Eaton, singers Muireann Nic Amloaibh and Kellie While and co-producer Andy Seward on bass. The influences are eclectic, Northumbrian dance tunes, Anglo Scots ballads, old timey and blues songs, New Orleans jazz and Rand B and more.
The sounds are highly distinctive, led by Simpson's guitars, banjola and banjo, it moves from solo slide to flat out grooves via nursery rhymes and tragic dark ballads. Simpson's own songs are beautifully written and at times most unusual in form, telling true stories and dealing with themes of love, loss, home and much more.
“Although it’s his guitar virtuosity that’s frequently lauded, it’s as an interpreter of song that Martin Simpson really scores. Simpson delivers narratives with colour and conviction. Fittingly be-gonged several times at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Martin Simpson is taking his place, not just as a hero for guitar-besotted acolytes but as one of the national treasures of English traditional music."
BBC Radio 2 Folk & Acoustic Reviews
"His performances elicit powerful emotions and subtle, understated beauty' Guitar Player
"Distinctive coiled-spring beauty and power. A revelation...Exquisitely at one with the All-English repertoire..A master " Mojo