Martin Harley Band
Martin Harley Band
Using a converted 12-string he bought from a junk shop for $30 (and still uses to this day), he played wherever he was welcome and his warm voice, earnest yet poetic lyrics, and distinctive guitar style made an impression. Upon his return to the UK he set about recording his debut album, “Martin Harley” (2003), enlisting Adam Wolters on two-string stick bass and Pete Swatton on a minimal cock-tail drum kit and balalaika. With a thrifty DIY attitude, a collection of great songs, and three musicians whose combined sound is hugely greater than the sum of their parts, The Martin Harley Band was born. His debut took him across Great Britain and Ireland in support, playing venues big and small, from festivals in and around London to busking on the streets of Truro.
In 2005 he was invited to take part in the World’s Highest Gig, an event aimed at setting a record for a concert held at the highest altitude in aid of creating an orphanage for victims of the on going violence in Nepal. Organized by the Nepal Balabalika Trust, the event raised over £30,000 to help Nepalese children affected by the conflict, which has been used to set up a shelter and skills centre. Returning to the UK soon after, the MHB set about recording their first album proper. In 2006 “Money Don’t Matter” was released to great acclaim, supported by numerous gigs and festivals across the UK as well as jaunts to France and Germany to spread the word further afield. With the success of their second offering, the band found themselves with an ever more demanding gigging schedule, and founding band member Adam Wolters made the decision to split from the band in order to spend more time with his family. With the departure of Adam Wolters, Martin and Pete searched far and wide for a replacement, eventually enlisting Graeme Ross on double bass.
Poached directly from the chaotic dissolution of his previous band, Graeme immediately made his mark on the MHB sound with his distinctive brand of percussive bass playing. Combined with Martin’s unique take on slide guitar, and Pete’s animalistic, groove infused drumming, they make a formidable trio indeed. Martin’s sense of adventure, his love of traveling and his thirst for a deeper understanding of music took him to Mali, Guinea, and Senegal in early 2007. Here he spent 6 weeks in the company of some of the finest of those countries’ musicians, making music day and night, soaking up the experience, and most importantly making friends. Besides music and traveling, Martin’s other passion is surfing, and his music has been enthusiastically carried around the globe by fellow disciples of the wave.
This word of mouth phenomenon has opened new doors already; Barbados is a shining example, where the Virgin Music Red Eye Festival 2007 was partly staged in order to enable the band to play there. In 2007, the MHB headed back into the studio to record their latest effort, “Grow Your Own”, a collection of songs written largely on Martin’s travels. Recorded at One Life Productions in London, produced by Simon Handley, and mastered by audio guru Bob Katz, this is certainly their most enterprising record yet, venturing beyond home recording and broadening their sound with tasteful use of strings, horns, and electric guitars, drifting from mournful ballads to jazzy swing to bluesy hip-hop and beyond into full blown rock. Released in stores and online in April 2008 to outstanding reviews and extensive radio play, including Bob Harris and Johnnie Walker on BBC Radio 2 and with live sessions on the way, the boys hit the road in support, playing throughout the UK, stunning audiences with their now legendary live performances. The remainder of 2008 will see the Martin Harley Band embark on their second UK tour of the year, with a return trip to Barbados immediately after, before Martin rounds off the year with an Australian tour.
With all this and a brilliant new album, the astonishing journey of The Martin Harley Band continues to roll on, and with so much covered in such a short space of time, who knows what the next year will hold in store. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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