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Local Talent: Martin Thorne & Company

By Dave Webber

Martin Thorne’s been on the music scene a long time and yet he still constantly manages to come up with something new.

Martin recently designed and built his own lap steel guitar. ‘Because it’s all metal, the sound has a clear, bell like quality’ he says, ‘but doesn’t sound like a tinny metal box. There’s a lovely tone with a natural sustain.’ He’s been performing on it at summer festivals like Mappfest in Malvern in a set which he described as ‘grungy folk’.

Martin started creating music and lyrics fifty years ago. ‘I wrote tons of poetry as a teenager’ he says. ‘Then a friend gave me a battered old guitar which I strung left handed, I learned two chords and away I went!’

Today Martin still plays left handed which he says has had some influence on his musical creativity. His musical style and influence has been described as ‘abstract’ and a ‘bluesy but un-categorisable style ranging from the Mississippi delta to the Ganges’. ‘I have never learned something off by heart’ he says’ because it bores me. I have no patience for it and I always have to be searching for new ground.’

Martin loves to improvise and for the past six years he has performed with several other talented musicians under the title ‘Martin Thorne and Company’. They use all kinds of instruments including percussion, cello, flute, fiddle and sitar. They take a song, strip away the chords and improvise away.

Their performances have gained a lot of respect from all kinds of people, but Martin is typically modest about their music. ‘There’s no big fan club’ he says, ‘because audiences constantly have to keep up with us!’

For the rest of the summer Martin Thorne and Company will be playing a number of smaller events locally. They are also due to play a live set in Victoria Park, Malvern, on Saturday 26th August as part of the ‘Alternative Bands in the Park’ series.

Martin Thorne and Company have recorded live music together which you can hear on the Bandcamp website, where there are also a number of solo albums from Martin.

You can also search for ‘Martin Thorne and Company’ on Facebook for details of what they’ve been up to as well as forthcoming gigs.