Marty Black

Hey folks, my name is Marty Black. I was born in Moscow, Russia but was raised in the United Kingdom.  I didn’t come from a musical background, but rock ‘n’ roll always filled the small Moscow apartment rooms when I was growing up. We moved to Sussex and later Berkshire with my parents shortly after I was born. 

Over the last few years I have worked as a chef, barman and waiter in various different restaurants and bars. I was inspired by the gritty work of kitchens as a kid, and the romanticism associated with being a chef. 

After several years of hard kitchen labour in various restaurants in central London, I moved back to the countryside and started work as a barman in a small village pub called “The Bull” in Sonning, Berkshire. It is a dying breed of a pub where community is stronger than ever, a magical place full of characters you can easily write novels about.

I first came to music in difficult circumstances. A family friend of ours passed away about 10 years ago. The tragedy of it all during the funeral was somewhat mitigated by the songs of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, The Animals and The Rolling Stones. 

Johnny Cash and his music filled the hearts of everyone there with comfort and a sense of hope. That feeling stuck with me. Those songs for a moment turned that terrible suffering into something better: almost to say, through Johnnys voice, that you’re not alone in this. It is fascinating how a man, more than a decade after his death, can change people’s lives like this. 

Fuelled by this idea that music can be used as a tool not just to create happiness, but to give people hope and unity during hard times, I picked up a guitar several years after that. The first songs I played were Johnny Cash song. And, after several years of being a chef, smoking and drinking a little more than I should have, my voice deepened. I found all the classic country artists, outlaw country like Colter Wall and Willie Nelson classics. I related to that life somewhat, although I can’t call myself country. I’ve never lived that life. 

Once I started to write my own poetry, mostly on walks or in nature, sometimes in church, I put together a few tunes and started releasing them on SoundCloud. Once I got to the point of being comfortable with them I started doing a few gigs, trying to sing and perform like I’m singing by a campfire for my friends and family, something I love doing more than anything. There’s nothing better than getting together by a fire with a few drinks and singing songs from the old days that everyone knows to the nails. 

In 2023 my dear grandmother passed away. She was a big supporter of my music despite not being able to understand much of it (although she claimed otherwise, often citing wrong lyrics and themes from her poor understanding of English. Although of course, I always said she was right). So I decided to put out an album that I made earlier that year called “No Man’s Land”. 


The album, like all of my music, is pretty stripped down, trying to get that ‘songs by the campfire’ thing going with guitar, my voice and occasionally the harmonica and banjo. I put it out on all the major streaming platforms and was incredibly surprised and grateful at all the listeners.

I wrote a new single of two songs in August 2023 when I visited Scotland, specifically the Isle of Arran which is a magnificent place because there’s no one there. A castle, mountains, pines and a bay was a view I saw for 3 days. There’s one whiskey distillery which was 20 feet away from my hotel and one pub further down the road. There’s nothing better than that. 

A local told me a tall tale about a soldier that came to the Isle with Robert The Bruce when Bruce was gathering his strength for the fight against the English. The soldier found his house burnt to the ground and a cross on the grave of his dear wife beneath the pines which are so common on the island. Hence the name “Beneath The Pines” for the single and the lead track. It was all written on Arran and recorded by me in my hotel room. I couldn’t verify the story anywhere and asking the other locals about it got me some strange looks, but it’s a good story nonetheless: a folk legend I guess. 

The second track is a song called “I’ll Roam Over Yonder” which is a song I wrote about longing for home, That feeling of homesickness when you’re walking in pastures or hills that are so familiar yet so distant from your actual home. Close your eyes and you’re almost there, With your family around you and comforting familiar sights.