For The Morning Star
Growing up as a teenager in Wales, Martyn Joseph wanted to become a professional golfer.
“At a very young age, I became a very good golfer and people thought that’s where my life was headed,” said Joseph. “Music was never really something I set out to do. I started playing guitar when I was 10. Later, at the age of 22, when I realized I wasn’t good enough at golf to be a pro on the circuit, I started to focus more on music and writing songs.”
The switch from golf clubs to a guitar has served him well, as local audience members will see and hear when the Welshman performs the next Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society concert, Thursday, April 28 at the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre.
Joseph has been a professional musician since 1982 and has released 35 albums.
Expect thought-provoking songs, lots of energy and a surprisingly big sound for one man and his guitar.
“Over the years, I learned how to make the guitar sound like there’s more than just me up there on stage,” said Joseph.
His sound is indeed hard to categorize into just one genre. When people ask about his music, he describes it as “edgy, acoustic and passionate. Kind of like Springsteen without the band.”
When asked about his early musical influences, he points to Bruce Springsteen and others.
“I was always drawn to the North American tradition of wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve and trying to etch out the stories. So obviously, I listened a lot to Springsteen, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Glen Campbell singing Jimmy Webb tunes, even people like John Denver; always people who were telling stories.
Joseph also points to Canadian Bruce Cockburn as a big influence.
“I got to see him play in my early days and loved what he did on stage, the way he played guitar and his poetry, songs that delved deep into the human spirit. I’m proud to say we’re good friends now.”
Joseph is looking forward to playing Vernon for the very first time.
“I want to make the show a really good night out. I sing about a lot of serious social issues,” said Joseph who alongside his music, runs the non-profit humanitarian organization, Let Yourself Trust, which is currently working in five different countries. “So, even though some of my songs deal with quite weighty subjects, we still have a lot of fun.”
Joseph sees his live performances as a journey he goes on with his audiences.
“It’s almost like a good dinner party I bring a lot of passion to the stage. I try to be committed and play each show like it’s the last show I ever get to play. I hope people see that and feel like it was something special at the end of the evening,” he said.
The Thursday, April 28 concert with Joseph at the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre starts at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $20 ($15 for VFRMS members), available at ticketseller.ca, the Bean Scene or at the door.