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#Throwback Thursday – Elliot Martin – Blackcastle (2001)

In 2002, Elliot Martin of John Brown’s Body (JBB) released a solo album named Blackcastle. It may be the most progressive roots album ever released.

Blackcastle was put out before JBB underwent a tidal wave of line up changes (most prominently from 2005-2007). It is important to note that at the same time Blackcastle was released, JBB’s other lead vocalist Kevin Kinsella was also releasing solo material. Unlike Martin’s future roots sound, Kinsella’s was primarily folk / singer songwriter oriented. Both Martin and Kinsella went to high school together in Ithaca, NY, and had been in bands with one another since the early 1990’s. I did not know Martin or Kinsella at the time of their solo releases, but I tend to believe that this period was particularly positive for all players in JBB. Many of their side projects or solo albums came out on I-Town Records which Kinsella founded. This independent label was at its strongest point in terms of profile, releases, and visibility during the early 2000’s.

Blackcastle has been out of physical print for at least five years, and is not available for digital purchase anywhere.

In 2010, Chase Lang and I reached out to Martin and (for lack of a better word) begged him to allow us to post the album on Bandcamp, which to this day is the only place you can stream and download the album.

I do not know if Martin has purposefully held Blackcastle back from services like iTunes, Spotify, etc- or if for him Blackcastle is a reminder that good music can drift along, be found, shared, and spread through the outlets of those who take it upon themselves to do so. Maybe it’s Martin’s way of telling us to be active and bug him about it.

Either way, I feel privileged to have known Elliot for the past seven years. My fondest memory was after a 2009 tour in New Zealand, when Elliot and I drove around the countryside listening to music and talking. For a man who does not say much, I felt that he was happy at that time.

If you enjoy this album and you want to see it released, please post a note of support on the Black Castle Facebook page.

Read the only review of the album I have ever found. It was written in 2003. (Read Album Review Here)

Related Links:

Blackcastle album credits: All Music Guide
John Brown’s Body http://johnbrownsbody.com
Kevin Kinsella http://kevinkinsellamusic.com
I-Town Records http://itownrecords.com

Seth founded Rootfire while he was managing a group of influential modern reggae acts, including The Green, John Brown’s Body, and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad. The goal of the project has always been to connect the people who participate in the modern reggae movement.

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