The new album from Martin Stephenson is one of his best reckons Paul Scott-Bates in this review.
Martin Stephenson should be a household name. Fact.
There’s no doubt that he is critically acclaimed as one of this Country’s finest songwriters, and quite rightly so. Over 25 years since the release of the debut album, the mighty Boat To Bolivia, Martin continues to record and tour both as a solo artist and with the Daintees. Generally acknowledged as Mr Nice Guy, after 40 albums how does the new stuff compare?
The answer is pretty simple – easily. California Star is an album of folk. With a little Blues. And Country. And jazz. And reggae. And rock. It rarely gets much better.
From the opening of the sublime The Ship, you know that this album is going places. It’s a lovely calm start to the album. “Brothers and Sisters, do not forsake us, give us a ship, help sail us”. Welcome aboard. Any song that tips a hat to Sham 69 is ok by me as The Ship fades out – “Hurry Up Jimmy Pursey, we’re going down the pub”.