John Martyn, who has died at the age of 60, was widely regarded as one of the most soulful and innovative singer-songwriters of his generation.
Throughout his life he kept searching for new musical forms in which to express essential themes: love, loneliness, and what it means to be alive
At the 2008 Mojo awards, where he accepted the Les Paul Award for being a phenomenal guitarist, an inspirational figure and an all-round cool guy, John Martyn gave sage, slightly slurred advice to future generations. "The power is definitely in the music, not the people," he said. "The music is the cool bit."
Meeting John Martyn -never mind going to his local pub with him, then retiring to his house for rum and orange juice- was one of the great pleasures -honours even- of my life. John was a heroic person in every sense, not all of them good. He drank and drugged and fought and swore to the limits of anyone's capabilities, but, Jesus Christ, he could really play. And really sing. And really write. He was as alive as it's possible to be when the weight of illness and the discomfort is upon you. He didn't slow up - he still, as I said in WORD's cover feature - stared people out in the pub, and he could still roar with anger when needs be. But he was excellent, hilarious company and his partner Teresa clearly adored him (and he her).
Singer-songwriter who played with and influenced a generation of musicians
John Martyn, who died on January 29 aged 60, may never have achieved household name status but he was one of the most revered and innovative singer-songwriters of his generation; his music – a mix of blues, folk and funk – influenced artists as varied as U2, Portishead and Eric Clapton.
LONDON (AP) - British singer-songwriter John Martyn, whose soulful songs were covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, died Thursday. He was 60.
THE barman is having trouble with the drinks order.
Was it just me or was there something especially rejuvenated about John Martyn as he played Jelly Roll Blues, having completed the advertised revisiting of his classic Grace & Danger LP?
'Some people keep diaries – I make records," John Martyn once claimed, admitting that his 1980 album Grace & Danger was "probably the most specific piece of autobiography I've written".
During his November 2008 tour John was shortly interviewed in the Thistle City Barbican Hotel lobby near the London Barbican theatre. Host for BBC 6 music is Shaun Keaveny.
John Martyn, Grace and Danger Live: he's the guv'nor
Mark Skipworth reviews John Martyn, Grace and Danger Live at the Barbican in London
All the greats have got one: that painful, intense, atmospheric studio album that was so emotionally demanding to make that it could rarely, if ever, be recreated in live performance.