It's a lovely sunny day, the sky is a blisteringly bright blue and some blue-tits have been investigating the bird nest that my friend Kim from Brighton gave me; they haven't moved in but they did look around. So the housing market is moving!
Rammed through my letterbox in an undignified way, a package awaited me.
It was Martin's new CD,Beyond Leap, which he has made a limited edition of and I have just been listening to it.
Of course I am wildly biased but this is a lovely CD both in spirit and in sound. Martin has broken with mass-production and done a genuine DIY recording, augmented by Jim Morrison on fiddle and Jimmy Cole on banjo. The sound is intimate and pensive, almost introverted: you can hear the fiddle being put down, murmured comments, the sounds of the space they were recording in.
Most importantly you can hear Martin's musicianship and his message. There is no studio gloss and no producer mediating the songs. With simplicity like this, the emotion of songs like Spirit Child and The Crying is direct and strong. This is like sitting in a room with Martin playing beside you, Jim and Jimmy subtly playing along when the song requires them to.
The independent life can be tough and harsh; here is an artist in repose returning to the gentle source of creativity in his voice and the guitar, and reclaiming life and music from the torrent of people, cars, technology, capitalism, and noise, noise, noise that deafens us and threatens to overwhelm us.
My fave track at the moment is A Thing of It, a positive and uppy finale.
Hats off to the spirit of independence, to doing it yourself and to the fighting spirit, which sometimes fights through gentleness rather than aggression and is all the more powerful for doing so!
Check out Martin's site at www.martinstephenson.me.uk