Martyn Joseph is a performer like no other: Shades of Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews there may be - but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives delivering his "songs of lyrical intelligence" according to BBC Radio 2's Bob Harris.

April 27, 2007 9:49 am

Viva Las Vegas

Am always telling folk who are interested in song writing to write those thoughts and melodies down straight away or you forget them. I’m doing this a lot lately, that is, coming up with good phrases in my head as I drive or sit but not getting them down on paper for some arrogant reason thinking I will remember them. And I don’t. A few have slipped away just like that.

Trying to nail my thoughts on Las Vegas to the mast while they are fresh in the gut. Yesterday I stared into the Grand Canyon for the second time in my life. Amazing of course, vast and the humbling effect of feeling like a tadpole in an ocean. This takes us away from good. Then, some hours later we hit Elvisville in the desert where the message becomes you, at least you and your money and we would like it please. Yet, I like this place too, I think. Find myself wandering for hours along mile of strip. Neon, music mingles with the sound of slot machines and you can catch snatches of Springsteen amongst the throng of whirring digits and fortunes. I’m thinking what is Bruce doing in the middle of that, but he’s singing ‘I’m going down, down,’ and I just might be. Very easy to fall here. The cab driver lived in Nebraska till his wife died and then he moved here in his late seventies and says he will die here. And my friend who loves the night says he doesn’t gamble and he wont pay for the other, so its all a little tense and confusing. Cattle pens of poker players remind me of the scene in Star Wars where they walk into some galactic bar and there are species for everywhere eyeing each other up. They were all in there. My old friend Celine is playing Caesars Palace but I wont even ask for the backstage pass. Walking on and all is on offer, my eye is like a roving notebook, sucking all this in for there are a thousand songs out on these streets. The tattoo parlour, the piano bar, the funk club and I’m being told to ‘jump, jump’. How do we ever feed so many people and all those sheets to wash? Who cleans up the mud after the wrestling? It’s like Bladerunner without the rain. I’m charmed and alarmed and when I come up for air the light is arriving again on another day in the desert. My eyes know they have missed rest for a whole night and so we walk home to the Sahara, but of course that’s wrong, that doesn’t belong and most of me doesn’t either. I would rather be in the Canyon but I can’t deny the pull of sin city.

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