Dom Martin

Belfast musician Dom Martin took the UK Blues scene by storm in 2019. His jaw-dropping, natural sounding, and unschooled skill on acoustic guitar, matched with an authentic ‘Belfast Blues’ voice, drew comparisons to John Martyn and Rory Gallagher, with nods to Van Morrison and Foy Vance. In addition to being an acoustic guitar star, Dom is equally adept on electric guitar, showcasing his talents with his power trio.

Dom’s introduction to the UK blues scene came when BBC2’s Cerys Matthews invited him to play a live session on her radio show; Matthews was blown away and described his work as “absolutely wonderful stuff.” Not soon after that, Dom released his debut album, Spain to Italy (2019.)

Dom’s sophomore studio album, A Savage Life made him an instant critics’ darling leading to his being featured on the covers of Blues Matters!, Blues in Britain, and French magazine Blues & Co.” There was no shortage of praise, Rock and Blues Muse stated, “Dom Martin is the next rising star in the global roots scene. Jump aboard now before he passes you by.” Blues in Britain declared that Dom was “A rare talent of such sheer genius,” and Classic Rock effused, “The Belfast guitarist is a sprawling talent.”

Dom’s latest effort, Buried in the Hail was co-produced by Dom and Chris O’Brien & Graham Murphy and mixed at Golden Egg Studios in Dublin, Ireland. Joining him in the studio were bassist Ben Graham and drummer Jonny McIlroy. The album will be released in Fall 2023, by American indie, 40 Below Records, also home to Grammy nominated artists John Mayall and Sugaray Rayford.

Buried in the Hail takes the listener on a very personal journey. “Unhinged” is all anger and fury, sparks and smoke and flames, captured by the screaming amps used on the track. Taking a positive turn is “Daylight I Will Find”, a song about life’s challenges and how through self-love, one can find the answers. The sole cover “Crazy”, written by Willie Nelson and made popular by Patsy Cline. This alternative version is one that Dom most identifies with. No deep meaning on “Howlin”, Dom is simply a paying homage to Howlin’ Wolf.

Dom has received multiple awards for his acoustic work, with 2019 European and UK awards in 2020/2021/2022 & 2023, leading to his induction into the UK Blues Hall of Fame. At the 2022 UK Blues Awards, Dom was nominated in five categories and won Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year. and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year (which he also won in 2022.) Dom and his band were also nominated for ‘Blues Album of the Year’ for Live At The Harlington, a performance recorded and released during the lockdown. Also, Dom headlined the Rory Gallagher online 25th-anniversary show during that time.

He’s appeared at many prestigious UK festivals, including the Guinness Blues on The Bay Festival, The Rory Gallagher Festival, the Letterkenny Rhythm and Blues Festival, the Kaleidoscope Festival, The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, The Harvest Time Festival, and The Canterbury Festival. He’s performed in Moscow and has done multiple European and Scandinavian tours. In 2022, Martin represented the UK at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, made his USA festival debut in Omaha, Nebraska and performed at the ‘Keeping the blues alive’ Stream-a-thon, hosted by Joe Bonamassa.

Photo: Jim Heal

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