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'A unique voice, engaging performer and wayward genius - Martin deserves recognition as a genuine national treasure.'
Tom Robinson, BBC6 Music
'Martin's beautiful music and good vibes have been a part of my radio programmes for close to thirty years. His enthusiasm and warmth infuse everything he does. Long may he run!'
Bob Harris BBC Radio 2
'Given time these Stephen songs will warm you down to the bone marrow.'
Much-travelled, much-loved British singer-songwriter Martin Stephenson and his band the Daintees are back with a new career highlight, almost 30 years after Stephenson first emerged as one of our most distinguished performers.
Stephenson’s restless troubadour spirit has now amassed an extraordinary catalogue of 40 albums, and the latest addition is another landmark. ‘California Star’ is the band’s first record to appear in a new deal with Absolute Marketing, distributed by Universal, and stands as delightful proof that a fifty-something artist can go on getting better and better.
‘California Star’ shines with all of Martin’s amassed influences, from folk and country to Americana to rock ‘n’ roll, but with plenty of the style that’s pure Stephenson and no one else. “I just went on a little journey with it,” he says.
“I don’t have huge budgets now, but I like that, it makes you resourceful. Rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t built on huge budgets, so it’s good to have a little bit of pressure. Sometimes if you’ve got huge budgets,” he adds with his trademark understated humour, “you end up sitting in the jacuzzi when you should be playing.”
‘California Star’ is already being heralded as the Daintees’ finest work since ‘Boat To Bolivia,’ and that’s some comparison. That was the 1986 debut that announced one of the most perceptive songwriters of the day, with a thoughtful, layered sound in an age of excess. The NME said of Stephenson’s song craft that he “builds bridges between love and hate, cradle and grave, folk and pop, past and present.”
“There’s lots of different dimensions in music,” muses the Durham native, who now lives in Invergordon in the Scottish Highlands, where he also runs his own small label for young artists he admires, Barbaraville. In the summer, he played to 5,000 admirers in the acoustic tent at Glastonbury, and will be taking the new songs from ‘California Star’ to a venue near you soon.
“Sometimes, no matter how open rock ‘n’ roll people think they are, they can have a blinkered view of how the scene and the universe shift,” he says. “You’ve got to redefine yourself. It just depends whether you’re connected to it or not.”
California Starwas released on Barbaraville Records on February 17th 2014