Sunday, 10 February 2013

Martyn Joseph @ Bush Hall - 30 November 2008

When I went to see Luka at the Komedia in Brighton, I sat at the same table with a local couple who had come along that night purely on the back of hearing Luka chatting on local radio that very morning. They thought he sounded like someone they'd like... so they got tickets and came along. They were won over and as we were chatting after the show, they said "If you like Luka, then you'd also like Martyn Joseph". Never heard of him. Never mind, went home and looked him up.  And booked tickets for his next show in London, that coming November. In the meantime though I didn't find the time to listen to his music or watch YouTube videos or anything, so I arrived at Bush Hall with really no idea what to expect. Well. If you can judge an artist by his fans, then I figured out pretty quickly that he was going to be good - perfect strangers in the queue outside were chatting and laughing with one another. Inside, I got a seat right up front centre. The guy next to me struck up a conversation and we had a grand time recommending other artists to each other.

Then Martyn leapt on stage already playing a plugged-in acoustic guitar and singing into a wireless mic...

And I was blown away by that rare artist who is equally engaging as a singer and a musician, with songs with equally strong lyrics and melodies. The lyrics perhaps are Martyn's particular strength: he's Welsh and a natural storyteller with an incredible facility for putting words together in ways that are vivid, evocative and with remarkable rhythm.

Highly recommend you have a listen to this overlooked talent:

In the absence of videos, I offer a potted set list and a few photos.  Where I'm unsure of 'official' song titles, I've noted partial song lines.

Strange Way
Beautiful [Things That We Have Carried Here]
   ~someday they'll disappear
   skin and bone - death and stone
   things that we have carried here
   freedom needs a volunteer
   to be beautiful
   can be beautiful
Arizona Dreams
Help Me Find That Man
All This Time [The Sum Of All These Parts Are We]
Dic Penderyn
Free Fallin' (by Tom Petty)
The Good In Me Is Dead
Weight Of The World [Now here are lyrics worthy of serious study!]
Sing To My Soul [If I wasn't won over by this point, this song did it.]
Kiss The World Beautiful [reminded of John Gorka]
This Being Woman
We Are Men [introduced by reading of a Dylan Thomas poem and a reference to Glen Hansard that went straight over my head at the time!]
I Have Come To Sing [Hope Love Peace Mercy]
Lonely Like America (new song)
Can't Breathe
Proud Valley Boy
Whoever It Was That Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home
Change Your World [which segued into what I believe was some sort of medley]

Vegas [with a remarkable story and an even more remarkable Elvis impersonation]
Turn Me Tender 

Went straight home and bought his latest album 'Evolved'.