This week Acoustic Tuesday viewer, George Van Winn recommends “the most dedicated guitar player he’s ever seen.” I have to agree with George here, this week’s artist is like candy for your ears.
His playing is so supportive of the song; it’s never too much, it’s never not enough, it always seems just right for the musical situation. He plays fingerstyle guitar with a fluidity that sets a shining example, and his playing looks completely effortless… and that’s just the guitar… He plays a multitude of instruments with complete ease.
Martin Simpson is a magnificent musician with a knack for all things strings. Martin’s fingerstyle guitar is melodic and beautifully performed. His fingers float across the strings and never appear to be strained in the least. The tone he gets out of his acoustic guitar has quite the depth and harmonic richness… I feel like that element is definitely attributed to his delicate approach.
As if playing the guitar so elegantly wasn’t enough, his vocal skills are very much on par. His song selection is diverse and his singing is a great compliment. He sings with a tone that insinuates mystery and wonder which is a perfect match to the tone of his playing.
Speaking of Martin’s playing, his skill set is not just limited to the guitar. Martin is quite the adept clawhammer banjo player and he can play the lap style slide with utter expertise.
Martin’s banjo playing has robust tone, partly due to his Romero banjo and partly due to the knack for his capturing magical tone from any instrument he touches. Martin also throws acoustic lap steel on his albums here and there and when that tone strikes your ears it’s as if it makes them smile… yes, I said it… ear smiles.
Martin’s discography is quite extensive and each album is chocked full of gems. While listening to Martin’s albums you’ll definitely get your chance to hear a traditional song arranged a completely different way. It can be overwhelming to try and pick just one album of his so I have selected a few of my personal faves to offer up a great sampling of Martin’s work. Both “Prodigal Son” as well as “A Closer Walk With Thee” are a great jumping off point for your tour of Martin’s records. From there his newer recordings are a good detour so you can see how much his tone has developed in his years dedicated to acoustic music.
Wherever you start your discovery of Martin Simpson you won’t regret it. He is a big time hidden gem in the acoustic guitar world and an artist that will certainly be a welcome addition to your acoustic music listening repertoire.
Also, heads up guitar geeks, Martin has some very beneficial educational materials out there on alternate tunings, instrumental song composition, arranging, and writing. So not only is Martin a top notch player, he is happy to share his craft as well!!!
Martin Simpson Links