Release Date: Aug 16, 2011
Record label: Liaison Music
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Contemporary Folk, Indie Folk, British Folk, American Underground, Alternative Folk, Guitar Virtuoso
A friend to fellow UK folk visionary Nick Drake, John Martyn had his own cult of influence, as this two-disc cover set shows. Drawing on dub and other influences, Martyn took folk-blues into dreamy, uncharted territory, anticipating the roots abstractions of Daniel Lanois and others. Contributors Vetiver, Phil Collins, Vashti Bunyan, and the Cure's Robert Smith make for odd bedfellows.
John Martyn passed away in early 2009 at the age of 60 and although his passing was well noted and his life was widely celebrated in his native England, the American press and music community were noticeably more reserved. Somehow, it was fitting. Martyn had never really found his audience in the U.S. There were pockets of Martyn followers in markets such as Boston and it must be said that those who knew his music knew it well and cherished it deeply.
It's a sign of John Martyn's far-reaching influence that the 30 covers here include songs from octogenarian gospel singers (Clarence Fountain), 80s goths (Robert Smith) and indie whippersnappers (Bombay Bicycle Club), though folk and blues takes predominate. Vashti Bunyan's half-whispered "Head and Heart" and the breezy bluegrass of Ted Barnes' "Over the Hill" are highlights, but Martyn's wider tastes are represented in contributions from 90s trip-hoppers Morcheeba and the loping reggae of One World, performed by Paolo Nutini. It's likely to appeal more to dedicated Martyn fans than newcomers but a fine tribute nonetheless.
Thomas DybdahlSongs(Decca) Rating: Doe-eyed and slightly disheveled, Norwegian singer/songwriter Dybdahl is the perfect Sunday antidote for that Saturday night you’d rather forget. He drapes his lovelorn voice over sparse, acoustic, hauntingly introspective pieces that never go where you think they will on this sumptuous compilation of his five albums released in eight years. Low key and subtle but never snoozy, this gorgeous, slightly offbeat folk/jazz is music for the morning after.
Whatever the style of the cover version, Martyn’s poetic truths shine through. Sid Smith 2011 Vetiver’s Andy Cabic, just one of the 30 artists providing cover versions on this two-CD collection, probably says it best for most of those contributing and listening when he writes, in the liner notes: "I never met John Martyn, and only know him through his albums and songs... I can always count on his music...
JEFF BRIDGES (Blue Note) Who should be excited for the self-titled country album by Jeff Bridges? Let’s see: cult worshippers of “The Big Lebowski” and his indelible lead character, otherwise known as the Dude. Anyone who ever idly imagined a future for Duane, the rangy Texas high school quarterback Mr. Bridges played 40 years ago in “The Last Picture Show.” And what about those moved by his Academy Award-winning portrayal of Bad Blake, the downward-spiraling country veteran in “Crazy Heart”? Sure, them too.