Martyn Joseph is not only one of Wales’ most respected singer-songwriters of the last 30 years, he is a completely unique and mind-blowing artist.
For one man and a guitar, he creates a performance with a huge far-reaching sound that is energetic, compelling and passionate. Be it to two hundred people or twenty thousand, he blows the crowd away night after night!
With a gruff and earnest tenor, Joseph channels the complexity of the human condition into spellbinding roots-rock narratives. He’s been compared to the cream of modern rock’s legendary troubadours like Bruce Springteen, John Mayer, and Bruce Cockburn for his empowering, compassionate, and heartfelt lyricism.
A staple of BBC Radio, he’s had numerous Top 50 UK hits, and toured with some of the 20th Century’s most beloved roots songwriters including Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega, and Joan Armatrading. In 2019, Martyn Joseph released his 33rd studio album “Here Come The Young” to critical acclaim.
“Intelligent and enlightened songs are both energizing and provocative…from subtle tenderness to growly indignation. A Welsh national treasure” - MOJO
“Songs of social commentary as much as love, with a rootsy sensibility” - Time Out
“Stunning, heartfelt music” - Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2
Compared to Bruce Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews, he has created his own style and reputation as a mesmerizing live performer and stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives. A unique talent driven by passion, social awareness and love for his trade, he’s a jaw-dropping guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style, teamed up with a powerful show-stopping voice, and has been called “The Welsh Springsteen.”
In addition to his 5 top 50 UK hits, the importance of his work has been recognized by programmes such as BBC Radio 2’s primetime series on Singer/Songwriters. Social justice has an essential presence throughout his music, which has been recognized with various humanitarian awards and plaudits. Concerned with making music that is relevant and vital to his audience, he engages with challenging narratives tackling the complexity of the human condition, underpinned with a promise of hope. In his own words “Really what I do is to try and write songs that might step up and make some sense of a moment in time. A good song makes you feel like you’re not alone in the world.”
There is a versatility to Martyn’s music that is hard to categorize. Many have tried, resulting in labels such as Folk, Rock, Soul, Folk Funk and Americana; all of which somehow miss the mark. But sometimes music doesn’t need a defining genre and with the ability to articulate a sense of the bigger picture, Martyn’s music and social commentary manage to empower and speak for many. His songs are pictures, and stories, and feelings all put to music and delivered by a master craftsman.
In 2013 Martyn released a CD of Bruce Springsteen songs, to great public and critical acclaim, with the glowing endorsement of Dave Marsh, acclaimed American music critic, official Springsteen biographer and close friend of the Boss himself.
2014 saw him take the spirit of his music onto a more practical footing with the launch of his “Let Yourself Trust”, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to make a small difference out of great love and commitment by challenging injustice wherever it’s found, educating via advocacy, campaigning for human rights, and raising issues that have been forgotten or ignored via fundraising initiatives, thus bringing about greater awareness for beautiful people in powerless situations. He’s also Patron of Advantage Africa and Festival Spirit in the UK and Project Somos in Canada/Guatemala.
He has won the love of audiences from USA and Canada to Europe through an impressive number of live dates, and has previously toured with the likes of Art Garfunkel, Jools Holland, Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega, Mike and The Mechanics, Joan Armatrading, Celine Dion and Shirley Bassey. He is hailed as a raconteur weaving tales on topical concerns, as well as stories on the fragility of love, with a magical ability to reach out to his listeners through his passion and humour. Stunning reviews single him out as an unmissable solo performer whose music stays with you long after the show has ended.
2016 was one of Martyn’s busiest, playing over 170 shows worldwide, he was also asked by the EFDSS and British Parliament to write and perform as part of“Sweet Liberties” with Nancy Kerr, Sam Carter and Maz O’Connor to mark 800 years of British democracy, One of his songs from this, “Nye” celebrating Nye Bevan, the author of the NHS, has been enthusiastically received by audiences everywhere, as well as having BBC national airplay on Mark Radcliffe’s Folk Show and Tom Robinson’s 6 Music show.
He was honoured with a Spirit of Folk Award by Folk Alliance International in Kansas in 2018, and he’s been invited to speak on several occasions at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA.
January 2019 saw the release of his 33rd studio album, “Here Come The Young, produced by Gerry Diver (Tom Robinson, Lisa Knapp and Sam Lee). The album has received praise from all corners including Uncut magazine, which described the songs as “anthems of hope that bigotry and hatred will not prevails” The title track also won the award for “Best Original English Language Song” at the 2019 Wales Folk Awards.
Martyn Joseph. A unique talent driven by passion and love for his trade, continues to write, sing and play from the heart. It’s a road he’s been travelling for most of his life and, as he often tells his audience, ‘you keep turning up and so will I.’