A singer songwriter whose music pays homage to Sunderland’s heritage is releasing his debut album - thanks to a rock legend.
Eurythmics star Dave Stewart was so impressed with the haunting music of fellow Mackem Martin Longstaff, who performs as The Lake Poets, that he
jetted him to Nashville, USA, so he could produce his self-titled album.
The resulting record, which will be released on September 25, was made in the renowned Blackbird Studios, where Roy Orbison and Hank Williams once recorded.
Martin, 26, from East Herrington, said he couldn’t believe it when Dave - who grew up in Barnes, but now lives in LA - got in contact.
“I ignored Dave’s email at first, thinking it was my mates taking the mickey,” he said. “I hadn’t noticed that Dave had begun following me on Twitter a month earlier. He said ‘I really like your music. How about we work together on something?’ ”
Such is Dave’s belief in the trained teacher’s music, he’s also signed him to his management label. And he’s 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, draws inspiration for his songs from love, family relationships and his home city’s proud industrial heritage.
The first single, Your Face, was written while he was in Nashville missing his girlfriend. Other tracks, including Vane Tempest, have more of a social realism theme.
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.
The Lake Poets is well-known on the Sunderland music scene and has already built up a firm fan following with appearances at a number of festivals including Glastonbury, Kendal Calling and T In The Park. He’s also supported the likes of Ben Howard and Jake Bugg.
You can catch the band in the North East when they perform at Lindisfarne Festival on September 5; We Are Family in Hartlepool on September 19, as well as an album launch show in Sunderland which will be announced closer to the time.