Singer-songwriter John Martyn, an innovator and influential musician known for his folk, funk, blues and jazz fusion, died in Glasgow today at age 60 from an unknown cause.
With a career spanning 40 years and 20 records, Martyn began it all with the single “Solid Air,” a tribute to composer and friend Nick Drake.
His lyrics and music closely mirrored his life, chiefly revolving around drugs and drinking; many of his songs are deeply autobiographical, especially the ending of his marriage to ex-wife and singer Beverly Kutner on Grace & Danger. Martyn’s pioneering use of the echoplex effect reflects the dub and reggae sensibilities from his brief, though undetermined length of stay in Jamaica in the ’70s. “There were massive amounts of ganja being consumed by everyone. Lots of love and peace.”
In 2004, a cyst burst in his right knee, requiring Martyn’s entire leg to be amputated, forcing him to continue his life’s work in a wheelchair.
John Martyn’s music has influenced modern day artists from Portishead to U2 and was awarded an award for lifetime achievement at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2008.
“May You Never”