Martin Simpson - Home RecordingsMartin Simpson’s next album was going to be a live one. But the lockdown put paid to all that. Even so, this cloud does have a silver lining. And what a silver lining it is. Unable to play to audiences (Martin can average over 100 gigs a year) or go into a recording studio, the only solution was to record a new album at home and were it not for the gaggle of geese flying overhead (you can hear them on ‘Lonesome Valley Geese’) and the birds happily tweeting on the closing track, you perhaps wouldn’t know this wasn’t a studio album. Recorded by his regular producer, now neighbour, Andy Bell, the aptly-named, ‘Home Recordings’ finds Martin singing and playing, literally amongst his beloved guitar and banjo collection and out on his Peak District-facing porch.

“As the pandemic progressed we began to lose friends and peers. John Prine left us in April and I played for him at home. I was focused on material some of which I’ve known for 50 plus years, some I’ve recorded before and revisited out of love. I played songs over and over to finesse the arrangements, but in the absence of a live audience there was an additional intimacy. I wanted to capture this feeling and so Andy Bell and Tom Wright set up in the living room and I played and sang in the music room. I’ve included two recordings made on the deck outside the back of my house. I spent a lot of time playing to the valley.” – Martin

‘Home Recordings’ includes outstanding takes on Lyle Lovett’s ‘Family Reserve’ (from his 1992 album, ‘Joshua Judges Ruth’), John Prine’s ‘Angel From Montgomery’ (from his 1971 debut album), Robin Williamson’s ‘October Song’ (from Incredible String Band’s eponymous debut album, 1966) and of course, Bob Dylan’s ‘These Times, They Are A-Changin’,’ which sounds particularly apt in the current climate.

Home Recordings track list:
1. Family Reserve
2. Lonesome Valley Geese
3. Deliah
4. Wren Variations
5. October Song
6. Three Day Millionaire / Dont Put Your Banjo In The Shed Mr Waterson
7. Angel From Montgomery
8. Plains Of Waterloo
9. An Englishman Abroad
10. Admiral Benbow
11. Augmented Unison
12. House Carpenter
13. The Times They Are A-Changin’
14. March 22nd
“Simpson is one of the world’s great fingerstyle guitarists, equally at home in American folk and blues and traditional English folk”
Arts Desk (★★★★ 4 stars) : read review

“It’s like a good old-fashioned home concert… A marvelous album”
Guitarist Magazine (10 out of 10)

“Lockdown-defying acoustic mastery from veteran folkie”
Uncut Magazine (7 out of 10)

“Although of course impeccably performed with a huge amount of skill and musical prowess, there is still something pure and beautiful about this music that finely balances it and sets it apart from any other Martin Simpson album I can think of. A wonderful achievement and gratefully received.”
Folk Radio : read review

“Throughout the guitar playing is exemplary and the Simpson vocal as elastic and appropriate as ever. If I’ve got to pick a couple of highlights – believe me the majority of the album is high level – these two are sheer giddiness, ‘The Times They Are A’ Changin’’ kind of appropriate considering everything and ‘House Carpenter,’ which he does so distinctly that you really don’t recall any other version, except another chilling reading done by Mr. Fox back in the early days of folk rock.”
Spiral Earth : read review

“Martin is solo throughout except for some sparingly used backing vocals and the sound of Home Recordings somehow takes me back to when I first heard him playing as support to Steeleye Span in the early 70s. I think this record will be close to hand for quite some time.” : read review

“All in all, a fine example that Home is where his heart is”
Fatea : read review

“This is an album to listen to over and over and which could only really be improved upon had there been some interference from the cat.”
Northern Sky (★★★★★ 5 stars) : read review

““Home Recordings” is an unassuming title – but untold riches lie behind the front door.”
Rocking Magpie : read review

“Aided by guitar, banjo and ukulele Martin Simpson has adapted to the times and gone back to basics, recording at home, to produce an album that demands, and indeed rightly deserves, your attention.”
Get Ready To Rock (3 ½ stars) : read review