"The most remarkable Blues musician of his generation.. Whether playing as a one-man-band, in a trio or a big band, Eddie Martin excels." Blues in Britain.
He started playing guitar and songwriting at the age of 15 and playing harmonica from 17 realising straight away that he wanted to make music a career. Performing solo and in bands, the repertoire was largely his own compositions. He was first introduced to electric Blues by school band mates via Freddie King’s “Burglar” album. From an interest in Bob Dylan he discovered harmonica player Sonny Terry from Dylan's Mentor Woody Guthrie
From the age of 17 he has continued to explore and study all styles of blues music, electric and acoustic on guitar and harmonica.
His biggest influences on Electric Guitar have been the “three kings” (Freddie King, Albert King and B.B.) and T Bone Walker. Slide Guitar influences include Elmore James and Muddy Waters, and Acoustic Guitar influences include Robert Johnson and Son House . His biggest influences as a lyricist have been Bob Dylan, Willie Dixon and Mose Allison.
He had brief forays into indie rock and even had a singer-songwriting partnership briefly with Portishead Vocalist Beth Gibbons. He formed his first Eddie Martin Blues band in Bristol in 1982.
His commercial recording career began with his debut cd solo release on his own Blueblood Records label “Solo in Soho” (1995) .
On the solo front his commitment has led to him being considered by the European Blues Association as the outstanding one-man blues band in the UK today . He has produced 3 solo albums; “Solo in Soho” which TIMEOUT placed in the top 10 Roots CD Releases of 1996, “Keep on Working” (2001) which received a 10/10 rating in Blues in Britain magazine and “Folk and Blues” 2009 which was described as “a quiet little masterpiece” by Blues in Britain.
Shortly after buying his first electric guitar Martin discovered Freddie King, an event which he said changed his life: “After that I had to study blues, Freddy, the other kings and all their earlier influences” . The Texas link continued with Martin living and touring from a Texas base in 1999 and 2000.
There he met and teamed up with the Texas Blues Kings, comprised of Bassist Guthrie Kennard and drummer Jimmie 'Blue Shoes' Pendleton, veterans of the Texas Blues circuit and formerly with Smokin’ Joe Kubek. They joined him on the EU circuit and for his tour of the USA in 2000 and they recorded "Pillowcase Blues" in 2001 .
He has returned to tour in the USA many times and has had residencies in Beale St Memphis and in the Jook Joints of Clarksdale .
UK and US musicians have featured in his bands for a string of albums “Ice Cream” (Blueblood Records 2003), “Play the Blues With Feeling”( Blueblood Records 2005) and “Contrary Mary” (Blueblood Records 2008) which gained a Top 20 place in World Blues Releases of 2008 in the Blues Matters Readers poll. His guitar skills have earned him "excellent" tags in many Guitar and Guitarist magazines around the world for these releases.
His National Steel Slide playing featured on the WC Handy-Award-nominated “Blues and Beyond” by the late Dick Heckstall-Smith, which featured guest appearances from Peter Green, Paul Jones and was produced by Pete Brown. Dick, a member of John Mayall’s Blues Breakers and Alexis Korners Blues Incorporated and has said "Eddie Martin is the hottest blues musician to come out of Britain since the 1960s ”.
As a leading harmonica player he was honoured at the World Harmonica Festival in Trossingen Germany in 2005 where he co-judged the world harmonica competitions, and was singled out as a key innovator for his rack-harmonica skills. He was also approached to arrange and record one of the most popular harmonica themes of all time for the BBC Radio 4 remake of “Dixon of Dock Green”.
Although most of his career has been fronting his own music, he has collaborated with other musicians from jazz and world music.
He briefly teamed up with veteran UK Saxophonist Don Weller to front the Freedom Suite Blues Band which was later re-named Bluefuse. Andy Sheppard also makes a guest appearance on “Ice Cream” (Blueblood Records 2003) and Pee Wee Ellis guests on the “Looking Forward Looking Back” (Blueblood Records 2012) album.
He subsequently also recorded and played in a duo with Kora-playing Senegalese Musician Mamadou Cissoko recording a live album which has not been published.
Since turning professional in 1996 - following a residency at London's Ain't Nothin' But, and the release of his debut album 'Solo in Soho' (Blueblood Records 1995) - the versatile Martin has gained recognition and acclaim in Europe. Consecutive nominations in the UK British Blues Awards for best guitarist, harmonica player, acoustic artist, album and band followed in the ensuing years. He has maintained an intensive international touring and recording schedule ever since. Since 1997 he also has had a residency at the Old Duke in Bristol.
All his own albums have been released on his own label Blueblood Records, which is now a self-release label but earlier on distributed the first cd releases of Matt Schofield and Ian Siegal, and a cd by Mighty Sam McClain.
In 2011 he released his only DVD "Live At The Wharf" featuring sets from his solo acoustic and electric trio shows. This came No2 in the Best Live Album Category of the Blues Matters Magazine Readers Poll of that year.
Since 2012 he has a trio line-up featuring organ and bass pedal-playing John Paul Gard, and Andy Sutor on drums. 2012 saw his latest Big Band release with the Little Big Horns and special guest Pee Wee Ellis (ex James Brown, Van Morrison). This has topped various Best Blues Releases of 2012 charts, including reaching No 5 in the Top 50 Global Blues Cd Releases on the Airplay Direct Chart.
The Penguin Book of Blues Recordings has praised his “talent, ingenuity and commitment ” as a modern British Blues Musician.