Martin Simpson’s new CD arrived through the letterbox this morning (sorry FOPP but pre-ordering got the better of me). Just managed a first listen and it has a wonderful intimacy – apparently reflecting Richard Hawley’s advice to record as though it was around the kitchen table. It contains a of the few self-penned songs we saw him preview when he played at the QEH earlier this year – most notable is ‘Jackie and Murphy’ about a medic working with an abandoned mule to rescue the Gallipoli wounded in desperate conditions… the mule being awarded a medal but Private Simpson to this day denied recognition due to the mis-categorisation of his commander’s VC recommendation. He also does a strong re-reading of Dylan’s ‘Blind Willie McTell’ which seems to be avaliable only on the bonus second CD that comes with the initial release edition of this album.
Overall a recording that calls for some dedicated listening. Interesting that he’s totally converted to PRS guitars having used the small English maker Sobell for years. As the outstanding fingerstyle guitarist of our age it appears to be an excellent choice for PRS – although the cynics would say that Simpson could make a $50 guitar sound remarkable.