'It's [the] adherence to home-truths... which gives Small Hours its power... just as good as Thomson’s acclaimed studies of Kate Bush and Phil Lynott' Mojo
'Unflinchingly critical of Martyn’s failings and his substance-fuelled excesses (and) equally glowing in its praise of his finest achievements as a genre-blurring performer. Insightful and beautifully written.' Shindig!
'This painstaking, eloquent biography... balances the fan's assiduousness with a critic's sieving action.' Observer
'Tethers the sometimes golden music to the often savage man, retaining sympathy for his subject and the casualties he caused.' Classic Rock, 9/10
Did any musician in the Seventies fly so free as John Martyn did on Bless The Weather, Solid Air, Inside Out and One World? Did any fall so far?
Small Hours is an intimate, unflinching biography of one of the great maverick artists. Though Martyn never had a hit single, his extraordinary voice, innovative guitar playing and profoundly soulful songs secured his status as a much admired pioneer.
Covered by Eric Clapton, revered by Lee Scratch Perry, produced by Phil Collins, Martyn influenced several generations of musicians, but beneath the songs lay a complicated and volatile personality. He lived his life the same way he made music: improvising as he went; scattering brilliance, beauty, rage and destruction in his wake.
Drawing on almost 100 new interviews, Small Hours is a raw and utterly gripping account of sixty years of daredevil creativity, soaring highs and sometimes unconscionable lows.
'Perfectly pitched, incisively written, brilliantly observed. [A] faultless biography... Bravo Graeme Thomson.' Danny Baker
'[An] excellent and necessary biography... As well as displaying a love and understanding of his subject's finest music, the author is clear-eyed about the regular bouts of "loud, stupid behaviour, intimidating and graceless", the chaotic tours, the vast amounts of drink and drugs, the selfishness and the emotional cowardice.' Guardian
'Telling Martyn's story with incisiveness, compassion and even-handedness... Small Hours is the perfectly balanced book that John Martyn, his music, and the people who knew him, deserve.' Caught By The River
'[A] comprehensive, thoughtful and often unsettling biography... Albums such as Bless The Weather, Solid Air, One World and Grace And Danger are as carefully considered as the man.' The Irish Times
'Acknowledges Martyn's musical beauty where it's due while never shying away from the beastly aspects of his personality... It's the most rounded portrait we're likely to get of this wayward perfectionist.' The Wire
'A wonderful new book... the contrast between the weak flesh and the soaring soul of his music is at the heart of the book's power.' Irish Examiner
'[A] scrupulously fair-minded biography... this sober and melancholy portrait is the best tribute Martyn could have hoped for.' Sunday Business Post
'An unflinching and thoughtful biography of folk star Martyn which does not shy away from the darker elements of his tale.' The i paper
'A stunningly written example of what constitutes a near-flawless biography.' - Eternal Terror
Publication Date: 14.03.24
Extent: 288 pages
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