Rock veteran Dave Stewart is back in his home city to launch a fellow Mackem musician’s debut album.
Dave, who rose to fame as one half of the Eurythmics, made a surprise visit to Sunderland Minster last night to introduce The Lake Poets.
The act, fronted by Martin Longstaff, has been signed to Dave’s management label after the multi-million record-selling singer/songwriter heard a song the 26-year-old from East Herrington had recorded previously.
His haunting sound caught the ear of the star who flew Martin to Nashville, USA, to record his eponymous debut album.
Last night’s gig is the first of two to be held at the church to launch the album, which is partly inspired by Sunderland’s industrial heritage.
“I believe Martin is truly one of the great artists of our time and I’m proud to be in Sunderland to introduce him,” said Dave, who grew up in Barnes.
The Brit Award winner said he still keeps abreast of Sunderland music from his home in LA.
And speaking of the recent City of Culture 2021 bid, he said: “If Martin has anything to do with it, I think the city stands a great chance. I’ve noticed a lot of great bands coming out of the city, and there’s been a great build up in the past five years.”
Such is Dave’s belief in the trained teacher’s music, he enlisted some of the best in the business to help launch the former Farringdon School pupil’s career.
The album recording sessions were engineered by Blackbird’s owner John McBride, who has recorded with everyone from Bruce Springsteen and The White Stripes to Taylor Swift and The Black Keys in his studio.
Martin, who performs solo and with a band on stage, said: “I sing from the heart, I condense what I’m going through in life into music.”
The first single, Your Face, was written while he was in Nashville missing his girlfriend.
Album track Vane Tempest is the story of how the Miners’ Strike affected his father, while Shipyards is about the loss of industry on Wearside.
The album is accompanied by a documentary, directed by Paul Boyd, which follows the band from Sunderland to Nashville, and the journey of recording an album in one week. It’s due to be aired on the Sky Arts channel following the album’s release this weekend.
•The second Lake Poets album launch gig takes place tonight at the Minster.