2021 makes the 20th Birthday of Martin’s ‘Bramble Briar’ release and Martin is planning a series of celebrations of this pivotal recording. Check out the Video section of this website for an introduction …. and keep an eye out on Martin’s socials for some more Bramble Briar related news.
“In the year 2000, I was living in New Orleans, but contemplating a return to England. A friend of mine who came to stay in NOLA remarked that it felt like living at the circus…
At the time I was without a record contract, so I got in touch with Tony Engle at Topic to ask if he would be interested in doing an album. He very quickly replied that he would, and asked if I would make an instrumental album of British tunes and airs. At that time I had made a run of instrumental albums and didn’t want to do another, so I suggested I make a record of traditional, mainly English songs.
I was looking back on a repertoire influenced by my early days in the Folk Clubs and by decades of listening to great singers and players. In my notes to the album I wrote:
“What is very clear is the strength of expression, the richness of content, be it lyrical, musical, emotional or historical, and the reflection of people and places in the songs and tunes.”
I recorded the music partly in Santa Cruz California and partly in Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire, engineered by Barry Phillips who also plays cello, and Oliver Knight. I took the opportunity to record for the first time with Martin Carthy and Chris Parkinson both of whom I had known and respected for many years.
I am so happy to look back at this collection of songs and tunes. It was very well received at the time becoming Album of the Year at the BBC Folk Awards in 2001, where I also won Musician of the Year for the first time. It is the first of a series of albums I have made for Topic Records, 11 in 20 years. Listening to it again I am struck by the power and beauty of the songs, and by the vitality of traditional music.
Happy 20th Birthday to The Bramble Briar.”