Martin Turner (ex-Wishbone Ash), Live Dates And Tribute To Friend
by Geoff Ford
Martin Turner, the principal writer of the classic Wishbone Ash catalogue of the ‘70s, and his band will be out on the road again in the autumn, all being well. At the third time of asking Martin (bass, vocals) and the band – Danny Willson (guitar), Misha Nikolic (guitar) and Tim Brown (drums) – will be hoping to perform the Wishbone Four album in its entirety along with other classic Wishbone Ash tracks. Wishbone Four will be the latest classic album as the Martin Turner Band continues to visit Wishbone Ash’s Vintage Years.
In the meantime the Martin Turner Band have paid tribute to their late German agent, and friend, Markus Sollner who passed away in March 2020 following a short illness. The band has issued a short statement:
“They turn fast, the pages of time, and so many moments, faces and voices get caught in their folding. But, as we know, music can stop time, freeze it, rewind it, play with it as if it was just a detail in the journey of existence.
Martin Turner does just this and, through the immortal notes of his Wishbone Ash era masterpiece ‘Everybody Needs A Friend’, he pays homage to the memory of his agent for Germany and friend Markus Sollner as if he never left.
On the first anniversary of Markus’s last journey on this planet (17th April 2020), the song becomes a video where Martin Turner and his band mates Danny Willson, Tim Brown and Misha Nikolic raise a glass to Markus and to all absent friends.
A simple but heartfelt testimony to the great friendships born on the road, nourished by great laughter and little sleep, long drives, and longer stories.”
This new version of the track from Wishbone Four was filmed and recorded following social distance guidance and demonstrates how music can overcome the barriers of space as well as those of time. The track can now be purchased and downloaded here.
A percentage from each purchase in the next 6 months will be donated to a charity chosen by Markus’s family, called MJC Trier a cultural & youth centre, in memory of their beloved friend. This way, gentle and joyful Markus can carry on doing good, just from the Next Room.
Markus worked with the band for many years and did sterling work in building and nurturing the band’s live circuit in Germany from 2008 up to the present day. He was an invaluable member of the Martin Turner team, always a gentleman, thorough, dependable and professional, often going beyond the call of duty on the road.
“Taken from us all too young but I send him my love through the ether, bless you Markus – you were a good man whilst you were here.” Martin Turner
Wishbone Four was released in 1973, the follow up to the classic Argus. Whilst not following the concept formula of its predecessor, Wishbone Four still contained the perennial live favourites Rock ‘n’ Roll Widow and Ballad Of The Beacon. Martin Turner has enjoyed the level of musicianship in his current touring band that has made the Vintage Years tour possible.
“We’ve kind of discovered with this band that it is possible for us to perform whole albums, whereas the old band would cherry-pick certain tunes and leave out anything that was a bit tricky,” he says.
I wondered how it felt to be still performing these much-loved classics some fifty years after they were first released?
“At my ripe old age?” he laughs. “It’s a bit of a surprise, I never imagined that I’d still be doing this. Over the years I have tried, on occasion, to – I wouldn’t say leave the music business, ‘cos I’ve always been a studio cat – but I veered away from live performance in favour of studio work. It’s great to be doing both, really, they’re equally valid aspects of the same career. No matter what I do, fate always brings me back on track.”
The trade-mark Wishbone Ash sound was built around twin lead guitars. Martin went on to give me a little insight to how that came about.
“People always think of it as two guitar players playing together but it didn’t happen that way at all. It was always a concept, from day one, to have to have two guitar players together, rather than fighting each other. I grew up on classical music and I can sing what is described as pseudo-classical melody, fairly easily. We could sing that, which we did, on occasion, and then do a harmony to it. When you work it out on guitar, which sometimes can be tricky, it’s not natural fingering when it’s sung. Then you sing the harmony which you transpose onto the other guitar, moaning all the way, they are, that it’s really awkward, come on, persevere, and you get there eventually, put some bends in and it’s just a very identifiable sound.
“It’s rich in melody, that’s the important thing. If you were composing that kind of stuff on guitar, it wouldn’t be the same. It’s a bit of a painful process but we realised very quickly, in the early days of the band, that it gave us a very recognisable sound, which is always good.”
Having had to cancel their original tour dates because of the pandemic the Martin Turner Band will be hoping to play live again through the autumn:
Thursday 2 September Twickenham Eel Pie Club
Saturday 4 September Alford Rock & Blues festival
Sunday 5 September Worcester Huntingdon Hall
Saturday 11 September Sheffield The Greystones
Saturday 2 October Havant Spring Arts and Heritage Centre
Friday 8 October Whitby Pavillion
Saturday 9 October Hull Hessle Town Hall
Thursday 4 November Chiselhurst Beaverwood Club
Friday 5 November London The Boom Boom Club
Wednesday 10 November Lytham St Annes Lowther Pavillion
Thursday 11 November Derby The Flowerpot
Friday 3 December Looe Tencreek Holiday Park
Saturday 4 December Dartmouth Flavel Arts Centre
Sunday 5 December Cardiff The Globe
Wednesday 8 December Glasgow The Ferry
Thursday 9 December Kinross Backstage at The Green Hotel
Friday 10 December Newcastle The Cluny 2
Saturday 11 December Selby Town Hall
Thursday 16 December Maidenhead Norden Farm Centre
Friday 17 December Swindon Level III
For more information and tickets please visit martinturnermusic.com