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  • Writer's pictureGraeme Thomson

Small Hours coverage

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

My John Martyn biography, Small Hours: The Long Night Of John Martyn, has been out now for two months. More so than ever, I would love for people to order/buy it from their local independent bookseller. It can also be ordered direct from the publisher and, of course, from Amazon

Collected below are reviews, features, radio and web interviews related to the book, with links wherever the material is available online.


“Perfectly pitched, incisively written, brilliantly observed. [A] faultless biography… Bravo Graeme Thomson.” – Danny Baker

“Martyn, the difficult musical visionary, thoroughly deserves this painstaking and eloquent biography [which] balances the fan's assiduousness with a critic's sieving action.” - Observer "[An] excellent and neccesary biography... As well as displaying a love and understanding of his subject’s finest music, the author is clear-eyed about the regular bouts of “loud, stupid behaviour, intimidating and graceless”, the chaotic tours, the vast amounts of drink and drugs, the selfishness and the emotional cowardice." - Guardian

"Telling Martyn’s story with incisiveness, compassion and even-handedness... Small Hours is the perfectly balanced book that John Martyn, his music, and the people who knew him, deserve." - Caught By The River

“[A] comprehensive, thoughtful and often unsettling biography... Albums such as Bless The Weather, Solid Air, One World and Grace And Danger are as carefully considered as the man.” – The Irish Times

“It's [the] adherence to home-truths which gives Small Hours its power... just as good as Thomson’s acclaimed studies of Kate Bush and Phil Lynott.” - 4/5, MOJO

"[An] excellent biography." – Independent

"Acknowledges Martyn’s musical beauty where it’s due while never shying away from the beastly aspects of his personality... It’s the most rounded portrait we’re likely to get of this wayward perfectionist." - The Wire

“Very impressive... Small Hours charts the life and career with admirable percipience and feel for the story.” - RTE Culture

“Expert… Through a judicious combination of research and original material, Thomson documents Martyn’s personal life in meticulous detail.” - The Herald

“Insightful and beautifully written... unflinchingly critical of Martyn’s failings and his substance-fuelled excesses [yet] equally glowing in its praise of his finest achievements as a genre-blurring performer." - 4/5, Shindig!

“Tethers the sometimes golden music to the often savage man, retaining sympathy for his subject and the casualties he caused.” - 9/10, Classic Rock

"A wonderful new book... the contrast between the weak flesh and the soaring soul of his music is at the heart of the book’s power." Irish Examiner

"Attention to biographical detail is pleasingly matched by astute critical appraisals [and] forensic flair.... [a] compelling portrait." - 4/5, Record Collector

"[A] scrupulously fair-minded biography... this sober and melancholy portrait is the best tribute Martyn could have hoped for." - Sunday Business Post

"Gives compelling insight into the complexities of the man and his music." - Louder Than War

“An unflinching and thoughtful biography of folk star Martyn which does not shy away from the darker elements of his tale.” - The i paper

"A stunningly written example of what constitutes a near-flawless biography." - Eternal Terror

"Thomson understands his subject. In one of his excellent summings-up he offers: 'Martyn lived his life the same way he made his music, improvising as he went, with no safety net, admirable in one sense and impossibly irresponsible in another.'" - Budapest Times

"Excellent." - UDiscoverMusic

Small Hours virtual launch

To launch the book, Blue Rose Code, Olivia Chaney, Karine Polwart, Siobhan Wilson and Findlay Napier recorded and filmed exclusive performances of John Martyn songs. Each video is accompanied by a short extract from Small Hours. These are all available to view at Folk Radio UK


Tom Morton's Beatcroft - John Martyn Special

Ralph McLean, BBC Radio Ulster - John Martyn Special

The Afternoon Show, BBC Radio Scotland


John Martyn & Nick Drake - a long read in The Guardian

John Martyn and Ireland - The Irish Independent

John Martyn in Glasgow 1966-67 - Glasgow Music City Tour

Five John Martyn songs for Books From Scotland

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