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Martin Simpson

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Martin Simpson (born 5 May 1953, Scunthorpe, England) is an English guitarist of some renown. In the 1970s he teamed up with legendary singer June Tabor; together they recorded three albums.

By the age of 12 Simpson was playing guitar and banjo. In 1970, Simpson dropped out of college to become a full-time professional musician, touring folk clubs. In 1976 he recorded his first solo album “Golden Vanity”. In the same year he opened for Steeleye Span on their UK tour. Teaming up with June Tabor, a folk singer who didn’t play an instrument, Simpson toured folk clubs and appeared at festivals. They recorded three albums together, highlighting each other’s complementary talents. There was a fluid jazzy feel about their approach to traditional material.

In the 1980s he moved to America, originally to Ithaca, New York then to Santa Cruz and finally New Orleans.

Over the next ten years Simpson became more and more adventurous, playing blues, bluegrass, cajun and even Indian-inflected music. He released a series of albums right through the 1990s, eventually moving back to the UK.

In 2003 he teamed up with June Tabor again. A readers’ poll of the magazine “Acoustic Guitar” voted him as number 12 in the world in 2005.

In 2007 Simpson released “Prodigal Son”. The 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards voted it as best album. The fRoots critics poll voted it as the 7th best new album of 2007. It is a mixture of traditional songs and Simpson originals, the highlights of which possess a distinctly southern American flavor.

Simpson is now married to Kit Bailey, the daughter of the singer Roy Bailey, with whom Simpson occasionally performs. Martin and Kit now live in Sheffield and have a daughter.

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