For more than 40 years Martin Carthy has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures. His skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him many admirers, not only from within the folk scene, but also far beyond it.
Trailblazing musical partnerships with, amongst others, Steeleye Span, Dave Swarbrick and his award-winning wife (Norma Waterson) and daughter Eliza Carthy have resulted in more than 40 albums, but Martin has only recorded ten solo albums, of which the much anticipated Waiting for Angels is the latest.
Whether in the folk clubs (which he continues to champion), on the concert stage or making TV appearances (he was the subject of the acclaimed ‘Originals’ music documentary strand on BBC 2) - there are few roles that Martin Carthy hasn’t played. He’s a ballad singer, a ground-breaking acoustic and electric-guitarist and an authoritative interpreter of newly composed material. He always prefers to follow an insatiable musical curiosity rather than cash in on his unrivalled position. Perhaps, most significant of all, are his settings of traditional songs with guitar, which have influenced a generation of artists, including Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, on both sides of the Atlantic.
Martin Carthy was awarded the MBE for services to English Music and won Singer of the Year and Best Traditional Track at the BBC Radio 2 Awards 2005. This is what the BBC website has to say about Martin Carthy and his award:
“For four decades, Martin Carthy’s work has immeasurably enriched the British folk heritage. He is regarded as one of the finest singers and interpreters of traditional music of the British Isles, as well as a highly influential and much-imitated guitarist. Awarded the MBE for services to English folk music in 1998, his drive and enthusiasm are undiminished and he continues to be one of folk music’s great innovators.”