Those of us who have already made his acquaintance experience a thrill of anticipation as we wait to welcome him again. His father bought him a guitar, but insisted that he take lessons, so Martyn took lessons in classical guitar for about three years. The guitar stayed in the background (but active) all the while as he played in golf tournaments.
Having received encouragement, he went into a small studio in Cardiff and made a demo tape of the songs hea€™d written for the youth group production, plus a few more that hea€™d also written, then sent them to music publishers.
Martyn was working part time for his father in the ceramic tile business and turned to him for half the money to make an album. As a result of his popularity in the Christian music world, around 1988, Martyn was approached by Tearfund a€” a relief and development charity working in partnership with Christian agencies and churches a€” to write songs to help solicit donations. Additionally, one member of the administration at Ears and Eyes had embezzled funds and shortchanged musicians. A follow-up live album, An Aching and a Longing (1989), further accentuated Martyna€™s widening perception of the human condition. Martyna€™s first song to make the English charts was a€?Dolphins Make Me Cry,a€? heard initially on Treasure the Questions and included on his major label (Sony) 1992 release, Being There. Part of Martyna€™s political consciousness was forged in the struggles of the Welsh miners.
Martyn pays homage to the legendary American singer and blacklisted activist Paul Robeson, who supported many workers in their struggles, in particular, the miners of Wales.
The first YouTube video I saw of Martyn (and there are many) was a€?How Did We End Up Here?a€? It was written during the Bush administration. In his 26-year career, he has sung all over the world.A  This spring he is taking his extraordinary gifts west from his native Wales to perform in the United States.
The guitar stayed in the backgroundA  (but active) all the while as he played in golf tournaments. The two sides of Martyna€™s personality co-existed, with the emphasis on athletics, until he was around 15.
Martyn was working part time for his father in the ceramic tile business andA  turned to him for half the money to make an album. A follow-up live album, An Aching and a Longing (1989), further accentuated Martyna€™sA  widening perception of the human condition. The common thread running through Martyna€™sA  songs is the constant search for justice for everyman. Martyna€™s first song to make the English charts was a€?Dolphins Make Me Cry,a€? heard initiallyA  on Treasure the Questions and included on his major label (Sony) 1992 release, Being There.


In 1999, Martyn released his first album, Far From Silent, on his own record label Pipe Records.
This record of the meditations and prayers of the independent and high-spirited daughter of Sir James Livingston, Viscount Newburgh, was written between the ages of fourteen and twenty-three, to assist self-examination and repentance of sins.
Ita€™s not hard to re-imagine him as a giant nimbus cloud, his big baritone a low rumble of warning thunder. Martyn Joseph was born in 1960, in Penarth, Wales, about five miles from the capital city, Cardiff. That first guitar was of the typical flat-top steel string variety, so, to make matters easier, after one year, he got the wider-necked classical type. He got back a few positive messages of encouragement, but nothing more, until a new company, Eyes and Ears, offered to pay for half the cost of production of a record. Martyn had been deeply rooted in the principles of faith and devotion to Christian principles and finding solutions to lifea€™s thornier problems within its strictures. When Martyn found out, his view of the world widened, and it now included many of lifea€™s seedier aspects.
He especially makes a case for downtrodden people who have not gotten a fair shake in life. Taken verbatim from his wifea€™s reaction to dolphins at an aquarium, the title gives a false impression about the nature of the song. They were among the first to fight against the tyrannical yoke of company and government overseers. Some of the later albums that I downloaded, Deep Blue (2005), Vegas (2007), Evolved (2008) and the aforementioned Under Lemonade Skies (2010) show how his songwriting has kept pace with folk audiencesa€™ hunger for stronger poetic expression of personal and universal themes. We in the New York area are fortunate to have a chance to see Martyn in some intimate settings.
Some of the later albums that I downloaded, Deep Blue (2005), Vegas (2007), Evolved (2008) and the aforementionedA  Under Lemonade Skies (2010) show how his songwriting has kept pace with folk audiencesa€™ hunger for stronger poetic expression of personal and universal themes. They detail her relationships with her family, close friends and certain servants and her reflections on her courtships and marriage. He liked the melancholy in Elvisa€™ voice and recalled to me some of his favorites: a€?Suspicious Minds,a€? and a€?The Wonder of Youa€? among them. Martyn played in local shows connected with a church youth group, while never having any sense that this would be what he would do with his life.
The bassist Tommy Simms, close to embarking on a producing career, offered to produce Martyna€™s next album, and Martyn accepted.
As he has said elsewhere: a€?I guess ita€™s about caring about the world and just wanting everyone to have a fair deal.


In the 1940 British film Proud Valley, Robeson portrayed a black American a€?David Goliath,a€? who works, sings and stands with them in their time of need. At the Kerrville festival, wea€™d sure like to be around any campfire where Martyn shows up.
Lady Elizabeth had royal connections and was later closely involved with various Jacobite plots and schemes. He also took particular notice of Elvisa€™ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-member lead guitarist, James Burton.
He also performed in school concerts, playing Spanish classical pieces solo at one concert and at another as a member of a rock band. In his book, Notes on Words, he states: a€?I guess we view life from wherever we stand, and my vision had been a little blinkered and comfortable to that point. I have found little peace or happiness in any situation where I was aware that others were not feeling the same.a€? There may be no one who casts a wider net in exploring the mysteries of life, death and faith than Martyn.
Taking some elements from the film, some from life, in a€?Proud Valley Boy,a€? Martyn sings in the voice of an old Welsh miner in the 1980s after the mines had closed, leaving him to learn typing in a re-training course. When he was 10 years old, he saw Glen Campbell play an Ovation guitar on television and asked if he could get a guitar.
There were also local Eisteddfods, a more traditional type of festival, where he performed as well. There was a leap from writing quite positive upbeat material obsessed with answers and very few issues, to songs that explored questions, contradictions and the political. Additionally, a teacher in school played guitar and sang songs and had something of an impact. There were many reasons for this, but I think one of the main contributing factors was my visiting the Third World for the first time and sitting with people who not only lived in abject poverty but also had no legitimate means of doing anything about it.
His grandfather, who belonged to a older gentlemana€™s group that got together to sing old songs, showed him chords on the piano. While Boyce was primarily a comic performer, he also recorded more serious songs about the struggles of Welsh miners, which had an impact on Martyn.



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