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The Lake Poets marks vinyl release with Sunderland gig

The Lake Poets at Sunderland Minster. Picture by Gabriel Petre.
The Lake Poets at Sunderland Minster. Picture by Gabriel Petre.
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Those who missed out on The Lake Poets’ triumphant two nights at Sunderland Minster last year can now buy a vinyl release of the sold-out gigs.

The homegrown act, aka Martin Longstaff from East Herrington, took to the stage in September alongside rock veteran, and manager, Dave Stewart, as well as his full band to mark the launch of his much-anticipated debut album.

Though it was recorded in Nashville, USA, it’s a record which pays tribute to Wearside’s lost industry and the effect of the Miners’ Strike with tracks such as Shipyards and Vane Tempest.

On Friday, Martin will re-release the self-titled album on a deluxe edition double LP along with a Live at the Minster LP.

Martin, who will mark the vinyl release with a gig at Pop Recs on Sunday, said: “When the first Minster gig sold out in a day and we decided to put the second one on, we thought it would be great to have a memory of it, not just with film, but in an audio recording.

“The guys from Real World Studios, which is Peter Gabriel’s studio in Wiltshire, came up and recorded it with Peter Gabriel’s equipment. It’s a gem of a record, I’m really happy with it.

“There are a couple of major highlights in my musical life: one was my first headline show at The Sage and the other is the two nights at the Minster. I was overwhelmed by the groundswell of good will. I had been away for most of that year and I was amazed by the reaction when I came back.

“The Minster fits perfectly with my acoustic sound, my voice just carries forever, it’s a venue that has its own natural ambience.”

Speaking of the vinyl release, he added: “I grew up with CDs, MP3s and iPods and it’s not the same. I want something physical, that I can hold, a sleeve I can read, something that’s real. It’s a good representation of where I’m from.”

The album’s original release struck a chord at home and away, with single Your Face racking up 3million plays on Spotify and winning rave reviews from MOJO and Uncut magazines.

Lake Poets with Dave Stewart at Sunderland Minster

Lake Poets with Dave Stewart at Sunderland Minster

“I’m totally blown away by the reaction,” said Martin. “To get reviews like that from serious music magazines is so overwhelming and unprecedented for an unsigned act.”

Martin’s haunting indie folk sound caught the ear of former Eurythmics star, and fellow Mackem, Dave Stewart who signed him to a management deal and produced his debut album.

“We’re in contact all the time,” said Martin. “I talk through ideas with him and he gives me direction and gives me opportunities that he thinks will be suitable for me.”

The singer/songwriter is currently touring Germany, where he’s built up a firm following, before heading home to the North East.

“Although the market in Germany is saturated with techno and dance, there’s a dedicated audience who love English acoustic music,” he said.

Sunday’s gig will see Martin play the new Pop Recs, a multi-purpose culture hub which moved to Stockton Road from Fawcett Street last year, for the first time. The singer, who hasn’t played Sunderland since the Minster gigs, said: “I teach there with the Cuckoo Young Writers’ group, but this will be my first time performing. I can’t praise enough what they do there.”

Martin, who’s already appeared at major festivals including Glastonbury and T in the Park, will be announcing 2016 festival appearances plus a UK tour in the coming weeks.

•The Lake Poets plays Pop Recs, Stockton Road, on Sunday at 3pm. Entry is free.

• THE LAKE POETS : self titled debut album Deluxe Edition 2xLP inc. Live At The Minster is available from Friday from Pop Recs and online on Amazon, iTunes and Spotify.