Martin Simpson (5 stars)

MARTIN SIMPSON

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Prodigal Son (Topic)

FOLK

Simpson may be an enthusiast - he includes notes on his guitar tunings - but he is no purist. His enquiring ears have kept him at the interesting edge of the folk scene since he was a genuine teenage prodigy in the 70s, and this new collection takes in Randy Newman and Leadbelly as well as traditional Scots ballads and his own songs.

The result has range, a relaxed mastery and emotional depth. With Simpson’s conversational vocals and fingerpicking and slide guitar supported by the likes of Danny Thompson, Jackson Browne and Kate Rusby, this is roots music at its richest.

(Ninian Dunnett)

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