Oak Bay live music series finale rooted in the blues, coloured by lifetime of travel

Martin Harley plays May 18 in the Upstairs Lounge at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre

Martin Harley will be the first to tell you that his music is a reflection of his own life experience.

His music is rooted in the blues, but coloured by lifetime of travel and the absorption of a rainbow of musical influences.

“I always loved music, and had my guitar with me while I played at a variety of jobs, including a stint as a tree surgeon,” recalled Harley with a wry chuckle.

“It was after I spent a year, living in my car in Australia, that loneliness and boredom and a feeling that I now had a story to tell that caused me to dedicate my life full time to telling that story through music.”

He describes his music as a personal diary; a reflection of experiences and beliefs put to song.

“When I decided to put out my first album 15 years ago, I was traveling around, selling them from the boot of my car. I really didn’t have an audience back then, and no expectations that it would do well,” said Harley.

Since those early days, Harley has developed the audience he was lacking in the beginning; a large audience who attend his concerts around the world and eagerly await his next recorded offering.

“I still try not to try too hard to impress people with my music, always trying to stay true to who I am. But I have a group of people now who have joined me on my journey and given me the gift of an open mind. It lets me continue to grow and let my music reflect real life.”

While Harley’s home is in Hartfordshire, England, halfway between London and Oxford, he tends to spend at least as much time on the road as at his home.

He’s headlined Music City Roots in Nashville, and toured coast to coast with the likes of Bruce Hornsby, Delta Rae, ZZ Ward and others.

In total, he plays an astonishing 150 to 250 gigs a year around the globe ( including one that took him 21,000 ft above sea level for the highsest gig in the world in Kala Patthar in the Himalayas.

His latest release, “Static in the Wires (Del Mundo Records, 2017) emerged from a collaboration with Frammy nominated Bassist, Daniel Kimbro, and combines Harley’s classic Blues with a taste of folk, country and bluegrass for a totally fantastic musical treat.

Following his current tour, a venture that will take hime from the West Coast of Canada to Great Britain and France, Harley plans to attend “as many festivals as I can over the summer” and then return home to record his next album.

That album will undoubtably continue to reflect his experiences on the road.

Martin Harley plays May 18 in the Upstairs Lounge at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre, 1975 Bee St. Doors open at 6 p.m. for dinner service, concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 at Ivy’s Bookshop & Oak Bay Recreation Centre and www.beaconridgeproductions.com; $25 at the door.


 

cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com

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