Martin and James
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Martin and James

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | MAJOR

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | MAJOR
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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Martin and James @ Blue Shell

Cologne, None, Germany

Cologne, None, Germany

Martin and James @ Vertigo Wipperfürth

Wipperfürth, None, Germany

Wipperfürth, None, Germany

Martin and James @ Philippshalle

Dusseldorf, None, Germany

Dusseldorf, None, Germany

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Last month was one of the busiest ever for Acoustic Edinburgh, with one regular event and two specials. Thank you to everyone who came down to one of the gigs, and a very special thanks to those of you who made all three! The evening down at the St Brides was a particularly fun one for me, and we raised a sizable chunk of money for Oxfam thanks to all those who managed to find their way to Dalry and the generous bands who turned up to play for free.

Of all the great music last month, however, one act in particular stood out for Paul and I. During the Spectrum festival in the Queen’s Hall, a pair of singer-songwriters with an uncanny sense of melody took to the stage - they produced a masterclass on how to use two voices in an acoustic set. We knew straight away that we had to get them back. Their names are MARTIN & JAMES, and we’re very pleased indeed to have them headline this month alongside our usual eclectic mix of musical talent from acoustic funk to original folk. Prepare to be impressed… these guys are going to go far!
- Acoustic Edinburgh

The duo of Martin Kelly and James O'Neill have been catching the attention of labels across Europe for some time, culminating in them signing to Vertigo/Universal music in Germany. Hailing from just outside Glasgow and now relocated to Berlin, it is a sad indictment of the British music industry that these guys were not picked up by a UK label.

They have been compared to Crowded House and Simon & Garfunkle, and it is easy to see why, but there is a lot more to them than the comparisons suggest. The 5 tracks on this ep are dreamy pop/folk all wrapped us with rich vocal harmonies and sealed with a summer twist. Opener She's Like Guiding is a stripped bare, vocal and guitar slice of bittersweet pop that plays with harmonies, both from the guitars and voices, to stunning effect.

The title track is simply wonderful. This is the type of song that the likes of Newton Faulkner and Damian Rice could only dream of writing. You're A Window raises the tempo with its skiffle beat and repetitive guitar riff and is perhaps the weakest of the songs on offer. Things get back on track with Little Bits Of Light, which has a rockier feel to it, coming across a bit like a cross between Turin Brakes and Elbow. Things are brought to a close with the hypnotic, and best track, Devils In The Doorway. The vocal interaction between the guys here is fantastic and shows a true understanding and awareness of their craft.

Having heard quite a bit of their music, it is clear that these guys have a big future ahead of them and this is a great introduction. - The Music Crtitics UK

What do Jesus And The Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura have in common? Though they span the musical spectrum, they all hail from Glasglow. As do Sons and Daughters and Frightened Rabbit. Ok enough with the freakin’ musical geography lesson you say. Let us introduce a new member of this Glaswegian musical posse, Martin & James, aptly named after Martin Kelly and James O’Neill (Scottish much?) These two create weighty acoustic hymns and introspective odes of love and tears. Lyrics delivered over raw acoustic like Simon and Garfunkel. Their song “Crashing” cathartically relies on a heavy bass drum, while “Not Alone” is simple, unadorned acoustic love song with haunting flickers of reverb. - Faith-Ann Young


EP "BAD DREAM" (2009):
Label: Vertigo/Universal



It’s been a busy couple of years for Martin Kelly and James O’Neill. Since coming to the attention of Universal Germany in 2008, the Scottish duo have relocated to Berlin and toured constantly across the continent, in support of bands such as Razorlight, The Stereophonics, Simply Red, Amy Macdonald, Ellie Goulding, James Morrison, One Republic, Scouting For Girls, The Fray, Lissie, Ingrid Michaelson, Bryan Adams and Milow. Their style of songwriting, with both singing lead and harmonies, has made many well-known songwriters eager to work with them. Since they started recording in Hamburg at the end of that year, they have sat down with writers such as Albert Hammond and Fran Healy.
The first fruit of the Hamburg sessions, the ‘Bad Dream’ EP, featured collaboration with Snow Patrol writer Iain Archer. It was a largely acoustic set fleshed out with old school percussion and effects that highlighted their harmonies and picking style. “The studio in Hamburg (Clouds Hill Studios) had these really old microphones from the forties. It was great being surrounded by old equipment; they had a mixing desk that used to belong to George Martin. It makes the recording process feel a bit more special when you’re in those surroundings“ say the pair, who recorded over 25 songs, both for their debut album and to create cds to sell at gigs.
Their second EP ‘Wrong Directions’ was also deceptively simple and built on the pair’s ability to write haunting hooks and lyrics awash in filmic textures, but also featured the first signs of a move into a full band set-up. “As a duo we are able to do all of these supports and we’d like to do this as long as we possibly can but we are really looking forward to touring with our own band”.
Martin and James have been singing together since 1999, playing in the usual spiral of bands that never made it, almost had a deal or fell apart. Throughout that long haul it has been the strength of their songwriting and playing partnership that has got them through. They have written hundreds of songs together and the ability to communicate the strength and simplicity of these songs live has seen them build an army of loyal fans, who actively support and promote the band, organizing special shows and events. ‘2010 has been a really exciting year for us, probably the most eventful one we've ever had. The reaction we have received from playing live has genuinely blown us away at times’ say the pair. “We’ve played some really big stages and supported some massive bands we didn’t think we would ever even meet. Going onstage in front of such big crowds just the two of us, made it even more nerve racking.”
2011 looks set to be another exciting year for Martin and James. The arrival of their debut self-titled album on Universal Germany will mark a move into the full band sound, headline tours with MLK Touring, and the inevitable round of special events and promotions that have made them so popular with their fans. “As this is our first proper release of a full album, of course we hope people will connect with it. We have toured all over Europe for the last two years building a following for our music. Now we get to give those people a full album. It’s exciting. We’re looking forward to playing some of our own shows, and trying out things we don’t get to do in a shorter support set.”

For more songs, upcoming shows and videos please have a look on or