Album Review: Martin Simpson – Trails & Tribulations

Acoustic singer-songwriter Martin Simpson has a rather healthy back catalogue of music and yet you will always find a smile playing across your lips when you hear that he has scheduled another release. This year see’s the release of his latest album Trails and Tribulations, a soothing and tender collection of songs that will wash you in a warming, golden glow.

With years in the music industry it’s little wonder that he is such an astoundingly accomplished musician. His music is soft and seems almost simplistic at times – but this understated and even sparse element is far from the truth of his work. Songs such as East Kentucky are phenomenal feats that fill the air with dextrous and delicate banjo medleys that are so soft and airy that they sound akin to the gentle strumming of a harp. Relying primarily on his ardent slide guitar and his complex banjo tunes Simpson makes it incredibly easy to concentrate on his each and every note. His every movement seems to stick in time and his music ebbs around you like the tide on a gentle summers afternoon. These beautiful and dextrous melodies might sound simple but the careful crafting that has gone in to each tune is breath-taking as his songs transport you through time.

To put it frankly it often feels as if Simpson has been born in the wrong country and even the wrong era. Despite hailing from England his voice is powerful, tender and as rich and strong as Irish coffee. What sets his vocals apart however is that regardless of his heritage there are faint traces of a subtle American lilt within his voice that furthers his role as a catalyst for the Americana and country scene. Determined, passionate and steeped in emotion Simpson sings with his heart on his sleeve and leaves his thoughts and feelings bare for all the world to see. The affection in his voice floats alongside his astonishing melodies and creates a collection of songs that are soft and sentimental as well as being immensely personal.

Tender, understated and somewhat intimate, Martin Simpson brings to life a series of songs that will warm you to the very core of your being. Gentle and kindly they are surrounded by charming and evocative tunes that seem to shimmer around you as you listen. This is the warming kind of music you need around you as you head into winter to remind yourself that summer will come again.

For a full listing of Martin’s 2017 concerts, please visit :

Pre-order the album at the following link:

Review by Joe Knipe