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R.I.P. John Martyn, U.K. folk-rock hero

R.I.P. John Martyn, U.K. folk-rock hero

London-born, Glasgow-bred John Martyn, a true triple threat for his skills as singer, songwriter, and guitarist, passed away today at the age of 60. No cause of death was given. Martyn came on to the British folk scene in the mid-'60s, releasing his debut recording in '67, but it was the pair of albums he made with wife Beverley in 1970 that first gained serious attention. He followed those with a trio of classic albums for Island -- Bless The Weather, Solid Air, and Inside Out --  that stand among the greatest achievements of British folk-rock, right up alongside Nick Drake, Richard & Linda Thompson, et al.

 

Martyn's bluesy voice and sui generis musical mix of folk, jazz, and rock created a unique, influential sound that made him a cult hero to generations of  musicians and fans alike. He never stopped exploring -- he worked with reggae production legend Lee "Scratch" Perry on the One World album, covered Portishead and Dead Can Dance on The Church With One Bell, and experimented with everything from ambient electronics to pure pop over the course of his four-decade career. Expect tributes in word and song from all corners of the musical world in the days to come.

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