Around 1980, as a keen young musician, helping out in the local Folk Club, in Waterford, Martyn Travis, came into contact with influential songwriters and performers, Luka Bloom, Sonny Condell and Kieran Halpin, all of who recommended that he go to Groningen in Holland, and so the journey began! He got to walk in their footsteps and played venues like the wonderful, Cafe Plus in Groningen. Martyn got together with English fiddle players Ashley Drees and Henry Sears and later teamed up with the very talented, multi instrumentalist, Siard de Jong. They also formed a folk rock band, Plan B. During this time Martyn gigged extensively in Holland, Germany, Belgium, England and also along with Siard joined the Irish American traditional band, 'Baaltinne' in Chicago.
Moving back to Ireland in 1989 to concentrate on his fishing business, Martyn still kept writing songs and performing the occasional gig. In 2005, he formed the Martyn Travis Band, a contemporary folk rock group with a twist of trad.
"As a songwriter the highest honour has to be when someone takes the time to learn one of your songs and particularly when they go and record it and put it on an album. The first song I ever wrote, 'Man from Tralee' is on 4 different albums in America. The American versions are very interesting to listen back to. "
" The song has quiclkly become one of my most requested. Other musicians are asking if they can borrow it. This is how music lives on." Brid Dower about 'The Man from Tralee'.
Martyn is has just released his new album 'Survivin".
john Browne - Drums, bodhran, Low Whistles, Irish whistles
Survivin' LP- Title track Survivin' and 'Deckhand on a Trawler' , has received national local radio play (play listed).
Slow it all down EP - local airplay
Walk a path LP - local, national and dutch airplay.h
Man from tralee (Single) - local airplay, national airplay. recorded and released, by 4 different artists based in America
An Irish voice of some distinction..........
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An Irish voice of some distinction.......... Irish folk bands are hardly lacking in the music world...An Irish voice of some distinction..........
Irish folk bands are hardly lacking in the music world today. Indeed many groups have found the need to implement some fad or technique in order to make them stand out from the crowd. In the case of Martyn Travis, there is no need to resort to such tactics.
It is Travis’s unique voice which really stands out on his new album ‘Survivin’’. It is a tool that is almost impossible to compare with any other singer, both on today’s terms and throughout history. His unconventional vocals - born out of traditional Irish folk music - have a distinctive rambling style, moving up and down the scales with apparent uncertainty about which particular note they will end up on. He is a well-travelled musician having spent much of the 1980s learning his trade across Europe, so perhaps it is this influence that has played a large part in his style of singing. Either way, Travis’s voice is a cornerstone for his songwriting.
As for the music itself, Travis’s Irish roots spread their inevitable influence. Tracks like ‘Pearl’ and ‘Deckhand On A Trawler’ are pure Irish folk, littered with accordions, flutes, bodhurans and whistles. Nevertheless, he clearly also takes inspiration from far heavier sources. Travis likes to describe his band as “a contemporary folk rock group with a twist of trad”. The term “contemporary” could actually be considered contentious. The rock influence he speaks of harks back to much older times, with the electric guitar solos and riffs of classic rock making themselves heard. With ‘Survivin’’, Martyn Travis has created an Irish folk record which stands away from the crowd.
Distinct musical presence
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Heath Andrews.Music Critic 106VIC Radio, New York. Martyn Travis never lost his traditional Irish...Heath Andrews.Music Critic 106VIC Radio, New York.
Martyn Travis never lost his traditional Irish roots. It would make sense then after nine years of touring the world and playing music, that he’d return to his home country in 1989 and focus his energies on his fishing business there. But the passion for music never left Travis either and he continued to write songs and perform on occasion, until 2005 when he formed the Martyn Travis Band. Travis mixes an alternative folk rock sound with traditional Celtic instrumentation, to achieve a unique sound that works very well for his songs. His 2012 album Survivin’ is a good showcase of that sound,.
Travis opens with the album’s title track, a rollicking number about the troubles you can face while growing up, but you survive them and it builds character. . Some of the traditional instrumentation can be heard almost right away courtesy of the accordion, played by Tom Kelly.
One of the other acoustic based tracks, “Anger and the Pain,” sports a true to life lyric about lost love, moving on, and the emotions one feels when a love finds someone else. Along with a powerful build that leads into the chorus, Travis effectively captures the emotion of the lyric and delivers that feeling of desperation and confusion. Lyrically, Travis is very consistent in being able to take life situations and boiling them down into a three to four minute song
One of the other important things to note is how staggeringly strong the lead guitar work is on this album. Along with Travis, electric guitar is also handled by Jon Kyprianou and Seamus Hayes, and their amazingly strong solos show up throughout Survivin’. . “Pearl Before Swine” builds to a solo that’s raw in sound, but played with finesse. This in turn leads to an excellent closing as Browne, rips through his drum kit.
“The Other Side” is just relentless in how it builds the guitar’s presence, graduating from an acoustic played against a whistle, to an electric that howls out notes during the song’s spectacular second half.
Survivin’ closes on the lovely and far more traditional, “Deckhand on a Trawler,” which reminds the listener about who Martyn Travis is. In keeping the spirit of the traditional instrumentation alive within his alternative folk music, he maintains a wonderfully distinct musical presence; one that is also a treat to listen to.
All the years of touring and performing have obviously served Travis well; they certainly haven’t slowed him down as he’s made it very clear that he’s still survivin’.
Music Critic 106VIC Radio, New York.
2nd Jauary, 2013
Martyn Travis Band
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Pour me a pint of the Martyn Travis Band, a gutsy four piece trading in a tasty line-up of pungent f...Pour me a pint of the Martyn Travis Band, a gutsy four piece trading in a tasty line-up of pungent folk-rock, spicing up Travis’ upful songs with the dextrous accordian playing of Tom Kelly. “New day” is so catchy you’ll think you’ve known it forever, and it wouldn’t be out of place in Steve Earle’s catalogue, while the stomping “Slow it all Down” reflects a modern world of hustle and bustle with effective harmonies and fine band playing. “Place in my Heart for you” is a cute ballad, waltzy but not smaltzy, with appealing guitar figures running gently under the surface. So if you’re tired of self obsessed introspection and singers singing love songs to themselves, checkout the feelgood factor from Travis and his band.