40 years after he recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, in 1976, Martin is known as a guitarist of formidable talent. Equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions, he is consistently named as one of the very finest fingerstyle guitar players in the world.
He is listed in Gibson Guitars’ Top 30 Acoustic Guitarists of all time, and Acoustic Guitar readers voted him number 12 guitarist in the world in 2005.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players, and a fine banjo-picker to boot, his solo shows bear witness to an artist at the very top of his game. Whether interpreting material from tradition or singing his own potent self-penned songs, Simpson is a remarkable storyteller: captivating and profoundly moving. His own songwriting produced the poignant ‘Never Any Good’, from Prodigal Son, 2007’s Folk Album of the Year.
Martin’s new solo album called Skydancers will be released in March 2024. The album is a twin release featuring a live CD recorded on recent gigs and a studio CD including some of Martin’s absolutely favourite musicians.
He has had the most nominations of any performer in the 18 years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, an astonishing 32 times, 13 of those as Musician of the Year, winning that particular accolade twice.
A virtuoso player without question, but above all Martin Simpson conveys his diverse treasure trove of material from the heart, performing with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty. A true master of his art.
Praise for last solo album ‘Rooted’:
“Every track cuts like glass. The folk singer and guitarist continues his winning streak.” Sunday Times
“Martin Simpson is a superb teller of a song. You just have to listen to the opener on this double album, his own composition, Trouble Brought Me Here, to appreciate how his articulation brings the substance of a song alive, borne on his flowing guitar or banjo accompaniment.”
“Martin is in a class of his own. He is such an expressive player; he is ingenious in his use of the guitar. You can listen to one of his songs and three or four minutes in, he has only used the top four strings and not even played a bass note yet, and when he does, it feels like an orchestra coming in. His clarity of playing is just amazing.” Jackson Browne
“One of the virtuoso instrumentalists of the English music scene” ‘Sounds better than ever’ **** 4 Stars The Guardian
“Simpson has become a fine interpreter of traditional and other songs, as well as a notable writer of his own.” The Times
“Simpson’s latest is a potent blend of the highest calibre…Simpson has never sung or played better” Acoustic Magazine
“One of our finest traditional musicians, Simpson’s latest album offers a roving overview of his talents” **** 4 Stars Uncut
“An excellent collection of material drawn from both sides of the Atlantic handled with loving care by Simpson and aided by some of the biggest names in folk” **** 4 Stars Maverick
Photo credit: Geoff Trinder