Pic by Jim Heal
Although a young man relatively new to the scene, it would be wrong to think Dom Martin hasn't paid his life and musical dues. Brought up in the often tough, but community driven streets of Belfast Northern Ireland, Dom traded his craft for a time locally without a (self confessed) clue how to break into the (international) music business and possibly with too much humility to try. 'Discovered' by his present management, Dom has made a fairly 'meteoric' rise in terms of today's industry,
His jaw dropping, entirely natural sounding and unforced/unschooled skill on acoustic guitar, matched with an authentic 'Belfast Blues' voice, brings to mind comparisons with many from (Glasgow born) John Martyn to Rory Gallagher, with nods to many in-between, not least perhaps the likes of Van Morrison and Foy Vance. Dom has won multiple awards for his acoustic work with a 2019 European award, UK awards in 2020/2021 and 2022 and as a result is now an inductee in the UK Blues Hall of Fame.
Dom is equally adept on electric with his power trio, having won the UK Blues Awards Best Instrumentalist Award 2022. The trio is always an extremely popular addition to any blues/rock festival and Dom always likes to include a Rory Gallagher song or two amongst his originals as he strives “to keep Rory’s music alive”.
In 2019 (his debut year) Dom undertook two very successful UK tours, as well as playing many festivals including the International Guinness Blues on The Bay Festival N.Ireland, The International Rory Gallagher Festival in Ballyshannon Ireland including the final night Big Top stage, The Letterkenny Rhythm and Blues Festival Ireland, a 5 show tour in Moscow Russia, The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne UK, The Harvest Time Festival in Monaghan Ireland, The Canterbury Festival in Kent UK and he also made his mainland European debut in Switzerland at the Blues Zeppelin Festival. Prior to all this however, Dom was invited by Cerys Matthews to play a live session on the BBC Radio 2 Blues Show in September 2018 and she described his work as “absolutely wonderful stuff”. Towards the end of 2019 Dom released his debut album, “Spain to Italy” which attracted a lot of attention and promised a successful career ahead for the Irish/UK dual citizen.
Also in his first full year Dom opened for Elles Bailey several times and also appeared for noted promoters AGMP Concerts as special guest support to the (US Grammy Winner) Mike Farris and Jo Harman at the big double bill London show in January 2020 at the prestigious Under The Bridge venue in Chelsea and the following evening as special guest support at the iconic 100 Club to Gerry McAvoy's Band of Friends. Dom then completed his first European Tour taking in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany before returning to Northern Ireland via shows in England just a week before the first Covid lockdown.
During the lockdowns, Dom played online to ever growing audiences and continued to build up a solid and loyal fanbase. In June 2020 Dom and his band headlined the Rory Gallagher online 25th anniversary video which was shown on all the official Rory Gallagher channels.
In December 2020, during a lockdown break, Dom and the band played a one off show in the UK which was recorded and this was released in June 2021 as “Live At The Harlington” which was nominated for “Blues Album Of the Year” at the 2022 UK Blues Awards.
Fast forward to 2022 and Dom Martin is a very busy man indeed with a rapidly rising profile in the music world. In April 2022, Dom released his
sophomore studio album “A Savage Life” to rave reviews in the blues press and he was featured in and pictured on the front covers of “Blues Matters”, “Blues in Britain” and French magazine “Blues & Co”. In May 2022 Dom was nominated in an unprecedented 5 categories at The UK Blues Awards (Blues Vocalist of The Year, Best Album of The Year, Best Blues Band of The Year, Blues Instrumentalist of The Year and Acoustic Blues Artist of The Year with Dom lifting the last two and playing at the awards ceremony in London. Also in May 2022 he played the KTBA Streamathon (hosted by Joe Bonamassa) and he also made his USA festival debut in Omaha Nebraska following him representing the UK at the IBC in Memphis in the solo/duo category, narrowly losing out in the semi finals to the eventual category winner. In June 2022 Dom with his band were special guests to 2022 BMA Guitar Instrumentalist Of The Year Eric Gales on his UK Tour and gained many new fans and raised his profile even further with the UK music media. Later in June 2022, Dom and his band played Norway for the first time, paving the way for more Scandinavian shows in 2023 and also for major promoters MCD, playing the Kaleidoscope Festival in Ireland.
Currently on his “A Savage Life” album tour, running to late 2022 in the UK and Ireland, Dom also played festivals in France, Belgium and the Netherlands in October 2022. He also featured in the October issues of “Guitar Techniques” and “Guitarist” magazines.
Hailed by many as the greatest Irish export since Rory Gallagher, 2023 is ripe for the picking for this multi award winner with many bookings in the diary including the prestigious "Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea" Mediterranean Cruise II hosted by Joe Bonamassa featuring many top acts such as Blackberry Smoke and Christone Kingfish Ingram.
“Dom Martin is the next rising star in the global roots scene. Jump aboard now before he passes you by.” – Rock and Blues Muse
"Absolutely wonderful Stuff"
Cerys Matthews - BBC Radio 2
"A rare talent
of SUCH sheer genius"
Blues in Britain
"ThE BELFAST GUITARIST IS A SPRAWLING TALENT"
- CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE