Folk Icon John Martyn Dies At 60

Tom Cole
NPR National Public Radio

Singer, guitarist and composer John Martyn was a folkie with a jazz soul. An accomplished and innovative guitarist, he got his start as a teenager in Britain's thriving folk scene of the 1960s. He went on to add electronics, collaborate with Phil Collins and score a hit with the British dance band Sister Bliss. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour was a fan. Beth Orton was one of many who recorded his songs.

In Appreciation of John Martyn: 1948-2009

Thom Jurek
Allmusic website

We were deeply saddened to learn that Scottish songwriter, guitarist, and true legend John Martyn passed away early on January 29, only weeks after being awarded Great Britain's OBE (Order of the British Empire) — not bad for a rebellious lifelong Scotsman. His website announced his death with the words: "With heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce that John died this morning." As of this writing, the cause of that death is unknown but it hardly matters. What does is that in place of that gruff, slurring, dark, smoky voice and stunning guitar playing completely of his own design, is the silence, the gap, the void, the damn black hole in life that he filled by singing those unbearably emotional songs of his.

'Solid Air' Singer-Songwriter John Martyn Dead at 60

Daniel Kreps
Rolling Stone

British singer-songwriter John Martyn, best known for his 1973 album Solid Air, died today, January 29th, at the age of 60. A note on Martyn’s official Website reads, “With heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce that John died this morning.” No cause of death was provided. In a career than spanned four decades Martyn worked with artists including Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Steve Winwood, the Band’s Levon Helm and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. But it was Solid Air that earned him most acclaim.

Is music even worth it? Peter contemplates

Peter Valelly
The Mac Weekly

One song: more musical than another?

This is the quandary my listening habits have put me in lately. Recently (well, really, for the last year or so), I've been fascinated and enraptured by the song "May You Never" by British folk singer John Martyn. Included on his 1973 album "Solid Air," the song (later covered by Eric Clapton, though I've never heard his version) is an embarrassment of melodic and rhythmic riches. Gently loping finger-picked guitar sets the song's addictively ambling tempo. Martyn's careful use of dynamics creates an awesomely percussive sound, soft and folky yet ferociously mobile, each acoustic pluck tickling the ear.


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