For more than 50 years, England’s Martin Carthy has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators: one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial figures. His skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him admirers not only from within the folk scene, but also far beyond it. Says Paul Simon, “His guitar work was always clear and elegant, while his influence was widespread and profound.” Bob Dylan simply proclaims “Martin Carthy is incredible.” Trailblazing musical partnerships with, amongst others, Steeleye Span, Dave Swarbrick, his award-winning wife Norma Waterson, and his daughter Eliza Carthy, have resulted in more than 40 albums, in addition to his more than ten solo efforts. Whether in the folk clubs (which he continues to champion), on the concert stage, or making acclaimed television appearances on BBC, there are few roles that Martin Carthy hasn’t played. He’s a ballad singer, a ground-breaking guitarist, and an authoritative interpreter of new and historic material. Q Magazine has called him “arguably the greatest English folk song performer of them all.” Still, he prefers to follow his insatiable musical curiosity, rather than cashing in on his position or fame. As a result, and perhaps most significant of all, his settings of traditional songs have influenced a generation of artists on both sides of the Atlantic, from Joan Baez, Steve Winwood and Richard Thompson, to Billy Bragg and Jim Moray.
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