Martin Kerr (AB)
For almost a decade, Edmonton-based singer-songwriter Martin Kerr made a pretty good living busking at farmers’ markets and playing house concerts around his city, singing cover tunes and selling CDs out of his guitar case. That in itself is quite a feat, and he’d clearly found himself a small, cozy place on the local scene.
But that all started to change about a year ago when, to his surprise, he sold out the 1700-seat Winspear Centre, booked the Edmonton Folk Fest and opened for Sarah McLauchlan on Canada Day at the city’s Rogers place. Further, his independent album, “Better Than Brand-New” went to #2 on the iTunes chart and was named Male Artist of the Year at the 2017 Edmonton Music Awards. Talent plus years of hard work were paying off in the move from street-corners to concert halls, with a little help from social media.
UK-born and raised, Kerr has often been compared to the best of both British and American 1970s troubadour like Cat Stevens, James Taylor and John Denver. His soulful voice and lyrics connect with listeners of all ages and backgrounds.
So how did he land in Edmonton? While travelling in China as an 18-year-old, he briefly met a Canadian girl who then wooed him from afar with poems and mix-tapes, then sent him a plane ticket to Edmonton. They’re now married with three children. The unique story of their long-distance courtship often forms an integral and charming part of his entertaining live show.
Martin plays for thousands of people every year, and that number is growing exponentially. And this July, he can add a weekend at Vancouver Folk to the increasing list of festivals thrilled to welcome him to their stages.