John Martyn

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About John Martyn

One of the most mercurial figures in British music throughout his four-decade career, John Martyn created a bounty of mesmerizing, often uncategorizable songs that reflected both his mystic, freewheeling disposition and the turbulence in his personal life. Born in 1948, Martyn immersed himself in folk and blues growing up in England and Scotland. While his 1967 debut, London Conversation, painted him as an earnest folkie of his moment, he soon ventured into more idiosyncratic directions by incorporating jazz rhythms and textures, as well as the distinctive guitar sounds he created with devices like the Echoplex. On albums such as 1973’s Solid Air and 1977’s dub-influenced One World, Martyn explored new stylistic frontiers while conveying a wealth of feeling. Even though Martyn’s battles with alcoholism and other demons created many disruptions in his career, he weathered his storms long enough to experience a renaissance with 2004’s On The Cobbles, his final release before his death in 2009.

New Malden, Surrey, England
September 11, 1948
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