Martin Simpson - True Stories (4 stars)

Martin Simpson - True Stories

Martin Simpson is probably most revered as a guitarist, and his prowess on both guitars and banjo is entirely evident on this follow-up to his award-winning 2007 release Prodigal Son, both on two dazzling instrumental tracks and accompanying his singing. He is not blessed with a great voice, but he has the priceless gift of making a song his own, with a quiet authority and expressive power that transcends any perceived limitations.

Six of the 13 tracks are his own arrangements of traditional songs, including an evocative ‘Sir Patrick Spens’ and a slightly reworked version of the American staple, ‘Stagolee’. His own songs include the moving ‘One Day’, written at the request of guitarist Martin Taylor to the tune that he wrote after the death of his son. A top-class cast of musicians includes bassist Danny Thompson, Nigel Eaton’s distinctive hurdy-gurdy, pedal steel player BJ Cole and Radiohead drummer Philip Selway.

(Topic Records)


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