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admin 15.07.2015

We had rolled into New Bedford, Mass., for the annual Summerfest on Saturday morning, July 2nd, spit out of a twister. By Saturday, I shoulda€™ve been caught up on sleep, but struggled to find the energy for the game of musical chairs at Summerfest. Over the weekend, each of seven stages off the cobbled streets of the Whaling Museum district grew packed to overflowing. There was no mad dash for us for the first performance at the small canopied area at the National Park Garden Stage. That first act was a€?Introducing Liz Longley.a€? This proved to be a priority-changing event.
I also managed to squeeze in an on-the-spot interview at a surprisingly subdued side room at the nearby, bustling Celtic Coffeehouse. Her father was a a€?really gooda€? jazz musician who played saxophone and had his own band. Exposure to chorus was minimal in grade school, but when she reached her early teens, she started singing with her dada€™s jazz group and continued until she was 18. Having begun writing on piano, Liz began performing with a friend, Sarah Zimmermann, who provided guitar backup.
Additionally, Liz and Sarah performed at fundraisers, in particular a€?Relay for Life,a€? held every year to raise money for cancer research. They also played professionally at local Pennsylvania folk landmarks Steel City (Phoenixville) and The Tin Angel (Philadelphia). After high school, Berklee College of Music in Boston was the only college Liz applied to because it offered songwriting as a major. She still performs on piano when the opportunity presents itself, and thata€™s illustrated by two slow ballads on this CD where she uses her keyboard skills.
Her upcoming shows dona€™t include anything in the New York metro area, but wea€™re hoping this article will change that. The photograph we found online for our a€?Radara€? July ad showed a drop-dead beautiful face, and we wondered if there was matching talent to back it up.
High school proved to be the seeding ground for this musical maelstrom, this force of nature. Physically, from the author's viewpoint, about five-and-a-half feet off the ground, he's standard size. For the average listener, in one lifetime, there is not enough time to practice to get to this level. What happened in Toby Walker's lifetime was that innate skill and intellectual curiosity collided with an obsession in one person. The only thing I had was the standard Alfred's Book #1, but I didn't bother reading any of the notes.
I had a friend who lived across the street who was in the band as well and his older brother had turned him on to BB King. Within the same year, the seminal moment arrived where 15-year old Toby, carrying his guitar, passed by the house where Robbie Bravo, in his 20's, was working on his car, and when Robbie asked what he played, Toby said 'the blues.' Robbie then asked, 'Like who?' Robbie thought that BB King was too slick, and introduced him to his basement record collection. I asked him, 'How do you get that percussive slap?' He started doing it while I was watching. These people, unlike people like Skip Jamesa€¦ I had missed that part of ita€¦ these people were still alive!
The blues is a major part of Toby's repertoire, but there have been other sources of inspiration that result in a variety of styles within what he does. Our readers owe it to themselves to get out to a Toby Walker performance to soak it all in.
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.


Wednesday night, finish the July issue, then get two hours of sleep; Thursday, pedal-to-the-metal from NYC to Fall River, Mass.
Newly appointed chair police at the main Custom House stage prevented attendees from saving seats for hours at a time. Seats opened up after each act and the first attendees to dash to freshly vacated chairs near the front became winners. As usual, we arrived at the festival at about 9:00 am and the first show didna€™t begin until 11.
Liz was scheduled to perform 10 days later on July 12 at the Living Room in New York Citya€™s East Village. From the very first notes, it was obvious that we were going to want to see and hear a lot more from this brilliant 23-year-old.
I would not be jumping from tent to tent, looking for the best seats, hoping to find something near the front at the big Custom House tent. For her first eight years her family lived in West Chester, Pa., then they moved a little further west, to Downingtown. Her mother was an aspiring singer, but lacked the time and opportunity to pursue it as a career. Through her dad, shea€™d gotten exposure to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and they were her favorites, the ones she focused on.
Other events included the high schoola€™s talent show and the senior prom, with both girls performing in their prom dresses.
Liz said that she entrusted major decisions in the studio to producer Glen Barrett and enlisted feedback from her parents to help her decide what, in the end, would be the right sound for her on each track. These include a€?Little White House,a€? seemingly a farewell to her childhood, and a€?Unraveling,a€? another farewell of sorts to her grandmother, suffering from Alzheimera€™s. Her dad told her, a€?If youa€™re going to learn to have a career as a musician, youa€™d better start now.a€? Actually, performing after college was a continuation of what shea€™d been doing since high school and during her four years at Berklee. Many times, listeners will hear a guitar player and dreamily picture themselves playing just like that. On top of a rock-solid bass pattern, the treble melody lines dance with speed, grace and precision. It was there that Toby learned about Chicago players like early Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Herbert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. The people who stayed there knew about other missions and people that travelled a lot would tell you about missions in other cities. You'd get $8 the first time, then go back a few hours later in the afternoon and get $7 for the second time.
I took out my guitar and said, 'Can I try that?' He said, 'Sure.' I sat there and I learned it from him.
I went to see Jorma play at a tribute to [Reverend] Gary Davis at Merkin Hall in New York City.
Over the years, using books and records, he's studied jazz on his own and has taken a couple of lessons to learn a few things. 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. Then, with breathtaking suddenness it darted upward, taking the hollow in my chest along with it. The chairs were empty and there were no chair police to prevent us from saving a couple of seats for the first act. Wea€™d see her then, of course, since we never miss WFUV DJ John Platta€™s monthly a€?On Your Radara€? series.
Instead, I followed Liz from one stage to the next, seeking the best photos and videos of her that I could get (below). Her earliest memories involve driving around with her father in the family VW convertible with the top down and music blasting from the car stereo. The lone cover, a€?People Get Ready,a€? demonstrates a command that allows her to take ownership of the song. While it did come up in our interview, her Facebook page states it more succinctly: a€?In high school, I was a marching band nerd.
I liked the way this chord fit with that chord, plus I had a sense of rhythm and I enjoyed listening to the chords I was learning, so I just wrote my own songs. Toby borrowed heavily from Robbie's collection to study from and occasionally scraped together enough cash to buy something by Buddy Guy or the like. Then you'd get to sleep there that night You'd get to sleep that night, and the next morning, you'd get to shower and you'd get another sermon while you were eating breakfast. The second trip, three of my guitar students wanted to come along and would pay for all the gas and the hotel. He told Jorma, 'Look, you're approached by a lot of people but this is somebody you need to hear,' and gave him one of my CDs.


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. As she states on her Facebook page: a€?I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and Karla Bonoff. James Taylor, Karla Bonoff, Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan were among the names she cited. I was surprised that she hadna€™t sought feedback from anyone at Berklee, but kept to the formula stated above.
One is a version of Joni Mitchella€™s a€?Rivera€? in which Liz hits some high notes that Joni herself might not be able to handle anymore.
I had a homemade amplifier made from an old stereo with some old speakers and a cheap electric guitar. I had a sleeping bag and slept a lot of times off the side of the highway, in small wooded areas. And when I heard that there were still people alive who were playing it, people that I had read about in books!a€¦ Eugene Powell, Wade Walton, and James 'Son' Thomasa€¦ they were all in these books! Toby put in a lot of years at the post office, but knew he'd have to get out to save his sanity. 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. But we didna€™t know her, so we figured it would be a good idea to get acquainted before seeing her at the Living Room.
The first two use a full studio band, complete with drums, bass, lead guitar backup, pedal steel a€” the works.
The second is Van Morrisona€™s a€?Moondance,a€? which gives Liz a chance to show off her jazz vocal skills. When I wasna€™t on the field, I was writing music (on piano & guitar) and playing shows.
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. This included a a€?concert night,a€? wherein the school invited students and parents to come to a performance solely by Liz and Sarah. In contrast, her third album, the latest, Hot Loose Wire, completed right after graduation, is stripped down a€” just her, solo, with either guitar or piano a€” pretty much what we see in concert. At that time and we played Rolling Stones covers -- a lot of the Get Your Ya-Ya's Out album (Live at Madison Square Garden). 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.
Theya€™d bring in a song and other students would dissect it, asking questions like why a word was used in a particular place.
I was playing fairly regularly and was still doing a little bit of finger picking, but still playing a lot of electric. When I was in Albuquerque, I almost got arrested for vagrancy, but the police gave me a ride out of town. I thought, 'OK, That sounds good to me' Also, during that period, I was with two bands, and I travelled on the road with those two bands. His grandfather, who belonged to a older gentlemana€™s group that got together to sing old songs, showed him chords on the piano.
There were classes where songs by famous writers were analyzed, and Liz loved it all, soaking up every learning opportunity that came her way. You could go to any college, and they had ride-aways -- cars that needed to be driven across the country.
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. You can always go to any college or university and find ride-aways and you can transport a car, and they would pay you for the gas. In the beginning of my junior year, my counselor wanted me to go on to college, and asked me what my plans were.
In theA  beginning of my junior year, my counselor wanted me to go on to college, and asked me what my plans were. He said, 'That's OK for the summer, but then what are you going to do?' I said, 'I want to keep doing it.' He said, 'What about a career?' I said, That's what I wanted to do.



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