Belfast born singer/songwriter Dom Martin is a rising star in the blues world. He has already made appearances on the BBC’s Cerys Matthews Show and has released his debut EP, Easy Way Out. His influences include the likes of Rory Gallagher, Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. (If you’re lucky enough to live on the Emerald Isle, he is worth seeking out as a solo performer and with his band The Furious Thirst). The EP is a precursor to a full-length debut which Dom will record in Red Box Studios in Belfast after reaching his target on the crowdfunding site ‘gofundme’. He will be touring the UK in early April 2019.
Opening track, Easy Way Out, has a complex acoustic intro that continues behind the vocals as the song develops into an almost mystical Celtic tune. It does have overtones of Waits in its storytelling while keyboards and effects add to the atmosphere. Mercy is also acoustic but with a lilt and bass and drums providing the backing this time. The guitar playing is very good as the picking and strumming combine to give a surprising depth while the vocals use a lower register to good effect. The solo is superb with nearly every fret and string explored. Antrim Blues is the first electric, full band tune, and is introduced by two slide runs that are left to echo before the beat kicks in. This is also where a more raw edge appears on Dom’s capable vocals. It all comes together as a very good blues-rock song and if only the fade slide had become a full-blown solo it would have been superb rather than ‘just’ very good. The Rain Came finishes this short EP with acoustic again but with gentle drums and a great bass line. The multi-tracking of Dom’s vocals adds power to the chorus and makes this into an enjoyable nigh-on country blues tune.
With influences like those listed, one would have expected a more rock biased set. Of the four tracks here, however, only one hits that mark…the others are a lot quieter and less blues and more ‘troubadour’ oriented. It is still an enjoyable selection and, although my preferences are always going to lean toward the brilliant Antrim Blues, all of the songs are a pleasure…especially if you listen to the nuances Dom ekes out of his acoustic. It certainly bodes well for his forthcoming album but I do have one plea…more solos please Dom so that we can fully appreciate your skills and feel on the guitar.
EIGHTdoodle paws out of TEN …
- Easy Way Out
- Antrim Blues
- The Rain Came