The new Martin Simpson album ‘Rooted‘ emerges on Topic Records on August 30th (the deluxe 2CD version of the album will include a companion disc ‘Seeded‘). And if that title conjures up images of zipping up boots and such, well the singer-songwriter does have a theme in mind for this album, as he explains “The music and songs embrace nature and travel, mental health, real life stories, loss, politics and history… and the threads that bind all this together can be followed back a long way, to 1965 when I got my first guitar and started to soak up material and ideas at a very rapid rate.“
‘Rooted’ features an array of stellar guest musicians, including Nancy Kerr (fiddle and viola), Andy Cutting (melodeon and diatonic accordion), Liz Hanks (cello), John Smith (electric guitar and vocals), Ben Nicholls (string bass and electric bass guitar), Julie Matthews(vocals), Alan Barnes (clarinet), Max Simpson (vocals), Amy Smith (vocals), Chris While (vocals) and Tom A Wright (drums and percussion). Richard Hawley and Dom Flemons contribute backing vocals and bones respectively to the album’s first single ‘Neo’ . As well as vocals, Martin himself plays banjola, 5-string banjo, 6-string fretless banjo, electric bass guitar and electric and resonator guitars!
Martin Simpson has provided a track-by-track commentary on ‘Rooted‘.
Trouble Brought Me Here is a song I dreamed.
Kimbie was one of the pieces my friend and owner of my local music shop growing up in Scunthorpe, Paul Empson played. Here, I play the actual Martin D-28 acoustic guitar cult American folk musician Jackson C. Frank wrote and recorded the classic, ‘Blues Run the Game,’ on.
Born Human was written by conservationist David L Grimes, a fishing boat captain based in Alaska, in response to the environmental damage he had witnessed and fought against, including that caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in 1989.
Ken Small salvaged a Sherman Duplex Drive tank from Start Bay in Devon, which led to the story of the tragic Operation Tiger of 1944 off the Devon coast being recognized and told.
Hills Of Shiloh is by Shel Silverstein and portrays a broken woman whose partner has been killed in the war, a fact that she cannot accept after 40 years.
Henry Gray was one of the first call piano players in the Chicago blues scene, recording as early as 1953 with Little Walter. After my very first solo gig in the US, in Memphis, I was asked to play with his band Henry Gray and the Cats and did so as often as I could over the next 10 years.
Who’s Going To Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot? I first heard sung by Woody Guthrie. It is what remains of the great British Ballad, The Lass Of Loch Royal (Child 76), in the USA. The tune is a perfect, simple gem, which I found myself playing as an instrumental. Eventually the lyrics started to appear and then to change.
Queen Jane was on an unreleased Hedy West recording sent to me by David Suff of Topic Records. I assumed before hearing it, that it was a version of, The Death Of Queen Jane and was wholly unprepared to find instead one of Hedy’s greatest banjo arrangements and vocal performances of a US version of, The King’s Daughter Lady Jean (Child 52).
Joe Bowers comes from Hedy West’s second Topic recording from 1966, Pretty Saro.
Fool Me Once was written while I still lived in the US, but I re-wrote it for this new version.
Kingfisher started life at The Arundel Wild Fowl Centre and added verses in Bradford On Avon and Sheffield. Try as I might, every time I tried to write a new tune, the words wanted to be attached to The Fair Flower Of Northumberland, which I learned from Dick Gaughan’s recording.
Neo (Neo-Liberal Billionaire) is my re-written contemporary version of Ragtime Millionaire, another staple of Paul Empson’s repertoire which I re-discovered during my recent work with Dom Flemons.
More Than Enough was written by Robb Johnson and it was in the repertoire of my late father-in-law, Roy Bailey for many years.
Martin Simpson will be taking the new album on an extensive tour of the UK with the following tour dates:
SAT 20 JUL 2019
Music On The Marr
The Marr (village green), Castle Carrock, BRAMPTON, Cumbria, CA8 9LU
MON 22 JUL 2019
Croydon Folk Club
Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, CROYDON, Surrey, CR0 1BD
SAT 03 AUG 2019
Countryfile Live BBC TV
TUE 06 AUG 2019
WED 07 AUG 2019
The Sidmouth Folk Festival
SAT 10 AUG 2019
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention
Main Entrance, Williamscot Rd, CROPREDY, OX16 1PG
WED 04 SEP 2019
Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Eastgate Street, STAFFORD, ST16 2LT
THU 05 SEP 2019
Lord Street, SOUTHPORT, Merseyside, PR8 1DB
SAT 07 SEP 2019
Charter Square, BURY ST EDMUNDS, IP33 3FD
SUN 08 SEP 2019
Bermondsey Folk Festival
Market Place, Bermondsey, LONDON, SE16 3UQ.
TUE 10 SEP 2019
St Davids Hall, Cardiff
The Hayes, CARDIFF, CF10 1SH, Wales.
WED 11 SEP 2019
West End Centre
Queens Road, ALDERSHOT, Hampshire, GU11 3JD.
THU 12 SEP 2019
Folk at The Flavel
Flavel Place, DARTMOUTH, Devon, TQ6 9ND
FRI 13 SEP 2019
The Tolmen Centre
Fore Street, CONSTANTINE, FALMOUTH, Cornwall, TR11 5AA
SAT 14 SEP 2019
The David Hall
Roundwell Street, SOUTH PETHERTON, Somerset, TA13 5AA
SUN 15 SEP 2019
Hitchin Folk Club
The Sun Hotel, Sun Street, HITCHIN, Herts.
MON 16 SEP 2019
Colchester Folk Club
Colchester Arts Centre, Church Street, COLCHESTER, CO1 1NF
THU 19 SEP 2019
Jail Wynd, STIRLING, FK8 1DE
FRI 20 SEP 2019
HM Frigate Unicorn
Victoria Dock, DUNDEE, DD1 3BP
SAT 21 SEP 2019
Universal Hall Arts Centre
Findhorn Foundation, The Park, FINDHORN, Forres, IV36 3TZ, Scotland
SUN 22 SEP 2019
Crafts & Things
GLENCOE, Argyll, PH49 4HN.
MON 23 SEP 2019
Soundhouse at the Traverse Theatre
Cambridge Street, EDINBURGH, EH1 2ED Scotland
THU 26 SEP 2019
The Stables Theatre
Stockwell Lane, WAVENDON, Milton Keynes, MK17 8LU
FRI 27 SEP 2019
Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, CAMBRIDGE, CB22 5BP
THU 14 NOV 2019
Canal Wharf, Brycheiniog, BRECON, LD3 7EW, Wales
FRI 15 NOV 2019
8:00 pmRhoshill, CARDIGAN, North Pembs, SA43 2TW
WED 20 NOV 2019
Upfront Arts Venue
Unthank, PENRITH, CA11 9TG
THU 21 NOV 2019
St Mary’s Square , Gateshead Quays, GATESHEAD, NE8 2JR
FRI 22 NOV 2019
Station Buildings, Central Promenade, MORECAMBE, Lancs, LA4 4DB
SAT 23 NOV 2019
The Lion Salt Works Museum
Ollershaw Lane, Marston, NORTHWICH, , Cheshire, CW9 6ES
SUN 24 NOV 2019
The Waiting Room
9 Station Rd, Eaglescliffe, STOCKTON ON TEES, TS16 0BU
WED 27 NOV 2019
West Street, ANDOVER, Hampshire, SP10 1AH
FRI 29 NOV 2019
The Pound Arts Centre
Pound Pill, CORSHAM, Wiltshire, SN13 9HX
SAT 30 NOV 2019
Cecil Sharp House
2 Regents Park Road, LONDON, NW1 7AY
SUN 01 DEC 2019
Church Road, WINGFIELD, Suffolk, IP21 5RA
THU 05 DEC 2019
Forest Arts Centre
Old Milton Rd, NEW MILTON, Hants, BH25 6DS
FRI 06 DEC 2019
Ashcroft Arts Centre
Osborn Road, FAREHAM, Hants, PO16 7DX
SAT 07 DEC 2019
St Lukes Church
Queens Park Rd, BRIGHTON,BN2 9ZB.
SUN 08 DEC 2019
The Bower House
20 Warwick Place, MAIDSTONE, Kent, ME16 8SG
THU 19 DEC 2019
Firth Hall Sheffield
Firth Hall, Western Bank, SHEFFIELD S10 2TN