Evolved - Martyn Joseph Album Review

Martyn Joseph - Image: www.martynjoseph.net
Martyn Joseph
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Album Review

Proud 'valley boy' shines...with Dragon tales aplenty, and more.

Hands up! I'm a proud Welshman, so it's tough being objective on this one. I'll try.

A few years ago, Martyn Joseph was dropped by Sony -it beggars belief. Must be regretting it, though they did benefit from five Top 50 UK singles. Now Joseph gets his chance to prove them outrageously wrong.

'Evolved', released on his own label, is littered with dazzling acoustic based songs, though tagged as the Welsh Bruce Springsteen, is slightly off -the- mark. Billy Bragg more like.

Joseph's passion (he's Welsh you know, living in Cardiff) is only matched by Rhyl's very own Mike Peters, of The Alarm. Not many singer - songwriters (without a band) can create what Martyn has delivered here. In fact, a band would diminish and spoil the whole thing.

Martyn has one magic touch - passion - and as you go through the songs, it just intensifies, peaking on the tragic events of Dic Penderyn, the Welsh working class hero Richard Lewis (1808 - 1831), associated with the Merthyr Rising. This wordy Taff has plenty of gushing lyrics to please all-comers as well, because he can spread his observations, biographical and autobiographical templates world-wide, with Arizona Dreams a prime example, using some deft harmonica-play giving it a genuine Americana rootsy feel.

It's his home-grown interests which bring the best results, and the fact this wonderful tunesmith reveals his soul, not as per usual, through his eyes, but his lyrics, found in particular on poignant Sing To My Soul, about the tragic Aberfan disaster, in which 114 people were killed, including 116 children.

It's a melodic beauty that opens the CD though- Kiss The World Beautiful, while jewel in the crown is the stunning Can't Breathe. This most filigree of ballads is enough draw tears, with Have An Angel..., coming a close second best. If Turn Me Tender doesn't turn you into jelly, well, nothing will. Closing a great album, he drools about his love affair with Cardiff Bay, hoping the great city will love him too, which I'm sure it does.

Okay, so the songs have been released before across various albums, but not in this format, hence, Evolved, and how.

Martyn tours extensively, in the USA and Canada, and you can catch him at Caernarfon's Galeri this Sunday 16 November and Chester's Telfords Warehouse on 25 November. (See website for details)

File under: It's a winner.

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