Martyn Joseph - Dean Clough Mills, Halifax - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Martyn Joseph - Dean Clough Mills, Halifax

by Dan Clay Rating: Release Date:

Perhaps Martyn Joseph, in a move similar to Canadian Ron Sexsmith, should think about hiring a rock producer, documenting the results for Sundance and exposing his talent to a far wider audience. In Halifax, amid one of the most intimate settings I can recall seeing anyone perform, this well-travelled songsmith captivated with another stellar acoustic performance which deserves greater acclaim.

Stripped of the band that had accompanied him across the first half of his tour, promoting new album Under Lemonade Skies, Joseph's natural presence armed only with a guitar shines through. Discarding the harmonica after barely three songs for fears of Dylan comparisons, the first few tracks showcase newer work, with 'You're The Moment' and 'Always Will Be' standing out.

The set's second half delves further back; Joseph no doubt aware that by not playing his biggest hit - 'Dolphins Make Me Cry' - he's clearly striding forward. We're even treated to hot-off-the-press material in the form of 'Still a Lot of Love', though he deems it a touch too commercial. A shame, as melody and tunes are what make Joseph such a fantastic live spectacle in this near three hour retrospective of his song-writing craft.

Inviting audience participation on crowd-favourite 'Vegas' with Elvis impersonations now obligatory, and newer songs 'On My Way' and 'So Many Lies', Joseph maintains his reputation as a warm and friendly performer; self-deprecating as always with a keen ear for lyrical layering. Even when over-analysing his cover of Springsteen's 'One Step Up' in an almost evangelical segment towards the end of his set, he's quickly forgiven, launching into a medley of audience requests as an encore.

Completing the performance with album closer

(a song Mark Knopfler must curse himself he didn't write, such is the gently plucking melody) one thing is clear. In an age of TV talent shows, talent still shows.

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