ARTIST FOCUS #029 - THE LAKE POETS
The Lake Poets is Sunderland’s Martin Longstaff. He’s been playing and writing since 2010. Now he’s one of, if not the most talked about new voices in The North East. He’s played Glastonbury; supported Willy Mason, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly and The Futureheads; and when he launched his debut single ‘City by the Sea’ in April, he sold out The Sage Gateshead’s Hall Two three months in advance. The sound is a kind of Northumbrian indie-folk, the song’s revolving around love, Longstaff’s life and his past, tracing his heritage back to the Sunderland shipyards his grandad worked in.
His songs are full of optimism and pride as well as having a ponderous, wan tone. He sings of the folk-lore of where he’s from while acknowledging his town’s difficulties. But then, you have to love something pretty deeply to talk (or sing) affectionately of its difficulties. Here are some great lyrics from his new single:
‘Yes it’s cold and it’s hard where I come from / And you do what your dad did, or you don’t quite belong./ Forget all that, cause we’ll do as we please, / There is life in my city by the sea.’
What he shares with the likes of Wordsworth and Coleridge – the original Lake Poets – is an incredible earnestness. There’s a real wisdom to his songs without their trying to be clever, and nothing artificial about the set-up. Though sometimes joined by musician friends when playing live, it’s often just Martin, his guitar and his clear, organic voice. ‘Marvellous,’ in Tom Robinson’s words.
‘City by the Sea’ is out now on Tiny Lights. The Lake Poets are also opening the main stage at the Evolution Festival.
Martin Longstaff (aka The Lake Poets) is playing a very intimate, stripped back set at Blank Studios for The Polite Room and Amazing Radio.
The gig is very exclusive, with only about 15 places available for each of our 6 artists. For a chance to see The Lake Poets, you need to follow @EvoEmerging on Twitter and wait for a unique hashtag codeword for the band to be revealed 10 minutes before their secret performance time. The first 15 people to quote the correct codeword on the door for The Lake Poets will be allowed in.
Words by Jonnie McAloon