Slide Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter And Self-Proclaimed Adventurer Martin Harley

Martin Harley has been touring around the world for years now.

One of the guitarists I’ve been getting into more and more lately has been Martin Harley. I saw him at a show recently with Delta Rae and ZZ Ward; the show was not only great, but I felt Martin was the standout of the three. He just came out with his slide guitar and vocals, and proceeded to blow the audience away. His music seems to be the right combination of blues roots, groove and pop so it’s easy to see that he’s gaining a wider fan base these days. I came across an interview with Martin Harley from Guitar International where he talks about his songwriting process, his love for music and guitar, and his sense of adventure. Plus, I shared a video from one of his live performances which is a great example of how I saw him perform. I hope you enjoy the show and interview as much as I did!

Here’s a little taste of the interview Martin was a part of with William Clark of Guitar International. I’ll share some of it here, but you can see the entire interview and one of Martin’s music videos at

William: What influences do you like to draw from when you’re writing new music?

Martin Harley:  It changes all the time. Sometimes I really work backwards through music that influences me.

I’m a really big Tom Waits fan, from the Raindog era, to Swordfishtrombone. Those albums are full of very rainy, gritty sort of sound, and it reminds me that music doesn’t have to be so personally executed, to paint the creative picture.

So, I often look back to people like Tom Waits, if I think I’m taking myself too seriously. [Laughs]

But yeah, all the delta players, from Mississippi John Hurt to Robert Johnson, all those players remain a strong influence on me. The new record, I would listen to everything from John Martin to JJ Cale to Queens Of The Stone Age to AC/DC. It really is all over the place for me, but the blues roots are there.

William: Looking back a little bit, how was it having your previous studio album, Drumrolls For Somersaults, reaching the top of the iTunes U.K. blues chart last year?

Martin Harley:  Surprised. [Laughs] But yeah, it was great! I worked very, very hard on that record with the band, and it’s a record I’m very proud of. It’s great that it charted so well in the U.K. upon it’s release. We didn’t pop the champagne or throw CDs out of hotel windows or anything, but it was still a very pleasant surprise.

Martin performed at the Bing Lounge late last year, and fortunately the lounge does a great job of capturing the performance for all of us to enjoy. Check out Martin Harley, his slide guitar and great vocals at

I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about Martin Harley and seeing him perform in his element. Martin has a cool message and some very interesting experiences in the music industry. Subscribe now to Mike’s Guitar Talk to learn about other guitarists that are trying to write their own stories in the music history book.

Thanks and stay tuned for more!


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