INTRODUCING: Martin Jonathan. Have guitar, will travel.
“MY name’s Martin, and I’m a guitarist/singer based in The Algarve in Portugal.
I play in bars and restaurants. Sometimes it’s very quiet and mellow during dinner, and sometimes very loud and rocky when the bar’s thumping and the beers are flowing! I don’t use backing tracks, I don’t believe in them. Everything with me is live and organic, no set list either – every gig I do is different from the one before.
I love playing, and hopefully that reflects in the performance. I was brought up listening to Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Chris Rea, but when I reached my teens, I discovered Jim Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. I still love all these guys, but my favourite guitarists these days are Sting’s Dominic Miller, Jeff Beck and Pat Metheny. Every time I listen to these musicians, I’m reminded that there’s no end to music. Just as you think you’re playing well, these three will keep your feet firmly on the ground.
I started playing guitar when I was four and gigging when I was 14. My Dad Andy is a great player. Without him in my life, I doubt I would play at all. My first gigs were with him as a duo in the pubs of my hometown Dover, Kent. I owe him a great deal. I left school at 18 and had a place at Leeds College of Music to study jazz. But I just wanted to do gigs. So, I started work straight away on the cross-channel ferries on the south coast of England, playing guitar to lorry drivers and fag runners! Then I worked on a couple of cruise ships in a tuxedo.
When I was about 25, my cousin Brian (another musician) phoned and asked if I’d fancy doing some summer gigs in Portugal. I immediately said yes and spent the next few summer seasons in Albufeira. That turned into a few winter seasons in Austria too and pretty soon, I decided I wanted to be based in Portugal. I’ve worked in a few other places, Guernsey, Germany, France and Holland, but most notably, Ireland. I’ve spent a good few winters playing in Harvey’s Point Hotel in Donegal. I met the owner in Portugal, and he introduced me to some great friends. Sadly, he’s no longer with us. Jody, I miss you, and I shall toast you with a beer later.
So now I live just outside Albufeira with my fiancé, Merete and our dog Tejo. Merete and I are getting married in June, on the beach with a few family members and close friends. We’ve tried twice before, but the ‘Rona’ got in the way.
I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. Merete is the most wonderful and supportive person I’ve ever known. My plans for the next year or so are basically just to keep playing. There’s a new gig coming that will be excellent. When it’s all sorted and organized, I’ll be banging on about it on my website martinjonathan.com. A new live album, a sunset cruise, and a bit of fitness – I’ve just started running!
The best bit of advice I could give anyone is to not listen too much to criticism. Sometimes it’s good, but mostly, it doesn’t come from a good place. You know yourself if what you’re doing is good or bad.
I’d appreciate it if you could give some of my music a listen too please, it’s on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, all the links on my website.
So, a big thank you for taking the time to read my mini biography – and thanks to Bradders for asking me to get involved. Cheers mate.”