Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro – Interview

We recently sat down with musical duo Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro to chat to them about their upcoming tour, influences, and side projects. See how we got on below and make sure you grab a ticket!

By Jane Howkins

You’re about to embark on a UK tour – are you excited?

Martin: I’ve had some time at home with my family writing so I’m excited to get out on the road to incorporate some of the new ideas into our set.

You’re playing a date at Selby Town Hall on September 20th. Is this an area you have played before, or like visiting? Why did you decide to play there and not somewhere like York or Leeds?

Martin: We have played York and Leeds, but not Selby yet. We are not personally in charge of where we tour. My booking agent spends a great deal of time routing the shows in the most distance effective way. Daniel is based in Tennessee therefore we try to get to as many towns as we can in the short window that we are both available for. Ticket sales are pretty good so I can only surmise the people in Selby have exceptionally good taste in music or that Daniel has long lost family there.

What sort of venues do you enjoy playing at most, and where do you think has been the best place you’ve ever played?

Daniel: I’m always eager to perform where folks are eager to listen. That said, there’s a certain magic in playing venues that have some sort of history. That could be that the building itself is an old one, or that the space has a lot of musical history on account of the myriad acts and artists who’ve performed there. Anytime you can combine those historical qualities with great acoustics and an attentive, enthusiastic audience it’s hard not to have a great night. I think it’s an extra treat for me to come to the UK and play for the former reasons; we just don’t have buildings of the same age and heritage in the States. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing places to play, especially in Tennessee where I live, but it’s a treat to set foot in places like St. Pancras or Union Chapel, let alone perform in them. Those two rank concerts pretty high up there for me in terms of venues Martin and I have played together. But we’ve had a mighty good time sitting around a fire pit with a cold beer and a couple less than in-tune guitars too.

Why do you think people should come and see you live, and what can people expect from a show?

Daniel: I’m not sure “should” is the word I’d choose. If you like irreverent humor (with some awkwardness to taste), two men trying and failing not to dress alike, and blues-tinged folk music heavily improvised and not repeated night to night then I’d say you will probably dig our concerts.

Your latest release was titled Static in the Wires. What can you tell us about that, and what does the title refer to?

Martin: The album was made in an all analog studio in Nashville, Tennessee. There was a great excitement about recording in that way. Most of the songs were first or second takes so what you hear is what happened in the room. The album title is a lyric from the song Dancing on the Rocks. Its meaning is purely up to the listeners interpretation.

Have you been working on any new music together ? If so, when do you plan on releasing it?

Daniel: If I know Martin he’s always got new ideas spinning in his brain. I like and hope to think I’m the same way. I’ve got a couple new songs on the go, maybe we’ll have time to work one up for this tour.

Martin: A new album is on its way and is due for release in the second half of 2019.

How did you two get together as a duo, and how do you find working with each other? How is the writing and recording process?

Martin: We met through a mutual friend at a music festival in Tennessee. I really thought we had a conversation to have with each other, musically speaking. Working with one another has being very simple, we have the musical connection and also share a love of good food, vintage cars, whiskey and questionable humour.

You both work in separate musical ventures, as well as together as a duo. What other projects have you been working on recently?

Daniel: I can’t seem to get away from slide guitarists. I’ve been touring extensively with Jerry Douglas this year, in the US and Canada. I’ve been working with both his own band, which is a louder, almost jazz-fusion effort, and here and there touring with his traditional bluegrass band called The Earls of Leicester. That’s a real treat for me as an Appalachian. I grew up playing Bluegrass and other traditional Appalachian music with my family, so revisiting those sounds with a band dedicated to preserving them is a real honor. I’ve also been working more on my own material, as well as touring with a guy called Seth Walker. He’s a guitarist and writer with an old-school soul and R&B thing happening. He’s played London recently, so UK folks can likely expect to hear more from him soon I hope.

Martin: I’ve been working hard on arrangements and demos for the new album. I’ve been investigating some of the more unusual studio options that are on offer around the world. The weirder the better.

What sort of music are you both influenced by, and what have you been listening to recently?

Daniel: Well, in the interest of space saving and typing-induced carpal tunnel prevention I’ll say I’ve been listening to a lot of different things. Two specific records I’ve been digging into, which I hope will fuel some cool explorations between Martin and myself, are John Martyn and Danny Thompson Live in Germany in 1986. The other live album I’ve worn out is one by Jim Hall and Charlie Haden, Live from Montreal International Jazz Festival. I’m also really getting into clawhammer banjo lately, which is a very Appalachian sound. There’s a guy called Adam Hurt who continues to blow my mind. One last one, a good friend turned me on to Kendrick Lamar lately. His album To Pimp A Butterfly is staggering.

Martin: I just alternate between J.J. Cale and Van Halen.