Live review: Martyn Joseph @ Sefton Park Palm House Sunday 23rd June 2013
While the vibrant sounds of Africa were still drifting across Sefton Park from Africa Oye early on Sunday evening, an altogether different though no less significant musical experience was just starting off at the Palm House.
Martyn Joseph is one of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters to come out of South Wales in the past fifty years, and all of that experience and skill was on show as he finished off his Songs For The Coming Hometour in Liverpool.
As the artist notes numerous times during his act, many of his songs are not naturally the cheeriest of fare – the heart-rending Five Sisters [free download here] being just one example – but his passion for for a meaningful marriage of words and music is one of the things that makes him stand out as a songwriter and live performer for so many years.
The art of Joseph’s poetry is evident in such songs as Lonely Like America which pull the audience along through a tapestry of twentieth century American culture all driven by his skillful guitar-playing, with an added live twist of part of Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark to delight the audience.
The audience is a key part of this live experience, as on numerous occasions he involves them through encouraging vocal harmonies which fill the challenging acoustics of the building on such numbers as Crossing the Line.
This was a two hour show with Joseph stunningly accompanied by American multi-instrumentalist, Mason Neely, who showed impressive ambidexterity throughout Falling Into Grace, playing drums right-handed while playing keyboard left-handed.
It is sixteen year since I last saw Martyn Joseph live, and he has reached the age of 52, but on this performance he has as much energy and as much to say to the world as ever.