Martin Stephenson is one of the many artists who broke
through in the early eighties and who has managed to retain
not only his fan base but also his credibility despite the fact
that his career has taken a number of twists and turns and
seen him move with ease from eighties pop through to roots
music and a few other stops in between. Born in County
Durham on the 27th July 1961, Martin first became aware of
music as a teenager. In fact it was down to an older friend at
a youth club that the young Martin first heard the music of
Frank Zappa. Other influences however were about to be
brought to bear as Punk exploded across the nation and
Martin was fired up enough over the 'anyone can do it' ethic
to take up the guitar himself.
Whilst working as a carpet fitter by day Martin was during the
evening playing guitar in his first band the Strange Relations.
By the age of nineteen and yet another dead end day job,
Martin heard Runaway Boys by the Stray Cats on the radio
and was inspired enough to give up his day job and fully
immerse himself in music by at first busking on the streets.
Shortly after however Martin formed the Daintees and things
began to move quickly. By 1982 the band were recording and
were one of the first bands to sign to the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
label Kitchenware who released the band's debut single Roll
On Summertime. Shortly after Martin and the band signed to
the major London Records Label.
Following the break up of the Daintees, Martin headed out on
a tour of Highland café's and folk clubs, which was probably a
kick against the commercial direction the record label, had
wanted Martin to move in. By the time of his album Yogi In
My House Martin had signed with the independent Demon
records label. The album was again an eclectic affair although
considered by many to be one of his best albums. The albums
featured tracks such as Dance The Last Goodbye and Gone
The Gypsy Davey, which reflected Martin's roots influences.
The album also contained performances from friends like
Jools Holland and more importantly Pauline Murray who
herself was another native of the North East and had fronted
the punk band Penetration. The album was one of two
released in 1995 the other album being Sweet Misdemeanour.
The rootsier side of Martin's influences however have never
been far from the surface and indeed as far back as the debut
with the Daintees on Boat To Bolivia there had been a track
dedicated to The Reverend Gary Davis (Tribute To The Late
Lilac Tree is an album from 2000 and one of Martin's more
acoustic based recordings. Lilac Tree was originally available
via Martin's website as a limited edition of just 1,000 copies
which were quickly sold out. Unavailable for sometime this
recording has been re mastered for release.