Mad Martins – CDs, book and stage show by Gary Miller

Mad Martins

Mad Martins is the latest project from internationally acclaimed songwriter and performing and recording artist Gary Miller (“As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him”, Green Man Review, U.S.A.), in collaboration with renowned Tyneside poet Keith Armstrong (“A fine poet… he is one of the best”, Adrian Mitchell), produced by award-winning producer Iain Petrie and featuring contributions from a range of notable guest musicians.

Epic in scope and scale, hugely ambitious and highly original, Mad Martins is a unique performance, recording and book project featuring original songs, music, poetry, spoken word narration and illustrations depicting the extraordinary lives and times of the notorious Martin Brothers, William, Jonathan and John, who were born in the late eighteenth century in the South Tyne area of Northumberland.

Eldest brother, William was the self-styled “Philosophical Conquerer of all Nations”, a doggerel poet, pamphleteer, engraver and inventor. Like his younger brothers, he aspired to be a ‘Renaissance Man’ and aimed for the “defeat of learned humbugs”.

Jonathan Martin has gone down in history as “the notorious incendiary” of York Minster. Frequent fits of rage against the clergy, including an attempt to assassinate the Bishop of Oxford led to his committal to several lunatic asylums, from which he escaped twice, before setting fire to York Minster in 1829, for which he was again committed to Bedlam, where he later died.

John, the youngest, was, like his brother William, an all-rounder, devising sewage schemes for London, along with a number of other inventions but is most famous for his epic New Romantic paintings of Biblical scenes. One of these, ‘Pandemonium’, based on Milton’s ‘End Of The World’, sold in 2003 for a record £1.65 million.

Mad Martins is released on Whippet Records (cat. no. WPTCDB24) in 2018, as a 50-track triple CD by Gary Miller with Keith Armstrong, Iain Petrie & Friends; house in a lavishly-packaged 104-page deluxe book, beautifully designed by highly acclaimed artist and illustrator Helen Temperley. The book contains lyrics to all the songs, poems and spoken word pieces, with additional inter-linking text and many beautiful images, including paintings, engravings, sketches, illustrations and original artwork, further enhancing the story.

A companion piece CD Fair Flowers Among Them All (The ‘Mad Martins’ Instrumentals) (WPTCD25) is also available.

A Mad Martins stage show in three acts is currently being planned which will feature specially-made period costumes, props, and set design, accompanied by a pit orchestra of specially selected musicians, amid a projected backdrop of stunning visual images, all of which will contribute towards bringing the whole story of the Martins to life.

In the meantime, look out for news of special launch events coming soon.

Project website: www.mad-martins.co.uk

Gary Miller announces new single and album

Gary Mller
Photograph by Ralph Pieper

2018 sees the launch of an exciting and unique collaboration between two leaders of the North East of England music scene in their respective musical genres.

Internationally-acclaimed musician and singer-songwriter Gary Miller (“As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him” – Green Man Review, U.S.A.) has teamed up with the award-winning Ferryhill Town Band to record a brand new version of his song ‘The Durham Light Infantry’, arranged and produced by award-winning producer Iain Petrie, released as a CD and digital download single this month on Whippet Records (WPTCD26) with front cover artwork by acclaimed artist and illustrator Helen Temperley.

Gary Miller is co-founder of internationally-successful Durham-based cult folk-rock band The Whisky Priests (“You’ll never see another live band to touch them” – Manchester Evening News, UK) and director of Whippet Records. The Durham Light Infantry was the second song Gary wrote for his band The Whisky Priests, in 1985. The original version was eventually recorded in 1989 as the final track on the band’s debut album Nee Gud Luck (“The contemporary folk masterpiece” – Rock ‘N’ Reel, UK).

Ferryhill Town Band (www.ferryhilltownband.org.uk) is a 2nd section band based in County Durham. Under the direction of Gareth Sykes, the band performs concerts and competes at various competitions within the North East and neighbouring regions. During 2017 they enjoyed success at eight competitions throughout the year.

‘The Durham Light Infantry’ is the first advance single to be taken from Gary’s forthcoming album From Coalfield To Battlefield. The album is based on a collection of songs he was commissioned to write by the DLI Research & Study Centre for When The Bugle Calls, a year-long travelling exhibition celebrating the Music of the Durham Light Infantry, launched at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on 5th December 2017. It follows ‘hot-on-the-heels’ of his epic-scale Mad Martins 3 CD and 104-page deluxe book (“This is a major contribution to the North East music scene” – Jez Lowe, Northern Echo, UK).

Initially approached for permission to use the original Whisky Priests version of The Durham Light Infantry for the exhibition, Gary saw this as an opportunity to overhaul and reinvigorate the song with new lyrics and a full brass band arrangement…

“Born in Durham and raised in the County Durham mining village of Sherburn, with family members who were colliery bandsmen, I was familiar with brass band music from an early age. I distinctly remember marching round the living room, from being able to walk, to the sound of my father’s many brass band albums. I recall the excitement of seeing the colliery banners and hearing the music, as the bands marched proudly by at the Durham Miners’ Gala, every year as a child. All of these things hugely inspired me and the influences are clear in the very first songs and tunes I wrote for my band The Whisky Priests. It has been a long-held ambition of mine to record one of my tunes with a full colliery band, for the last 30+ years in fact. True, The Whisky Priests recordings throughout the late 80’s and 90’s often featured colliery brass guest musicians, but never a full band in its own right. I am overjoyed that this ambition has finally been achieved, through my collaboration with the Ferryhill Town Band. To hear my old song ‘The Durham Light Infantry’ renewed in this way has been an incredible and unforgettable experience – this was the one song I most had in mind for a full brass band treatment throughout those 30-odd years. I feel truly blessed creatively and am proud to be able to share the results through this new single.” – Gary Miller, 2018

Artist’s website: http://www.garymillersongs.com/

‘The Durham Light Infantry’ – official video: