With the release of the new single Daddy Gene, Joe Martin gives us the unexpected and heart-warming story of father-daughter love from thousands of miles apart.
Joe Martin, a young singer-songwriter originally from Lancashire, was inspired by the story told of astronaut Eugene Cernan and his young daughter in the film documentary The Last Man on the Moon (2014), and from this Daddy Gene was born. Following the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 Cernan became the last person to ever walk on the surface of the Moon, and Martin’s song retells this experience from the fantastical perspective of his then young daughter.
Daddy Gene opens on a vibrant clash of instruments before we hear Martin’s voice chime in over the tune. His first verse asks Daddy Gene when they are going to go and do all of the things he promised they would do, like camping, which is a snippet of the truth – Cernan’s daughter was apparently far more interested in talking about going camping with her Dad than hearing about his trip to Space once he had returned! The line “and when the stars all come out at the night time, you can teach me how to fly” particularly gets to me as we can see the wonderful imagination of this child beginning to come into its own as her mind wanders over the journey her Dad is taking. The first verse is a slow build but Martin writes very well from this childlike perspective, capturing the wonder at the unknown as well as the realistic facts of the matter.
The song’s chorus is rousing and it takes no stretch of the imagination to see it being played in large arenas in front of thousands of fans, each with their phone torches on and swaying to the beat. In the chorus the child asks Daddy Gene to “bring me a moonbeam”, Martin again invoking this incredible childlike imagination. The whole chorus revolves around the possibilities this child sees in space travel, and calls on her father to “tell me a story” in Martin’s stirring vocals. In a later verse Martin sings “you wrote my name in lunar dust”, a historical reference to Cernan’s writing of his daughter’s name on the surface of the moon during that final walk.
The entirety of Daddy Gene bleeds wonder and magic. The real life context of Cernan’s journey and his relationship with his daughter make for a song that is both heart-warming and celebratory, and Martin’s portrayal of the child is filled with the hopes and dreams of the little girl throughout.
The influences of the likes of Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac can be seen in Martin’s own storytelling style, and it is no surprise that he has played a series of successful gigs all over the UK and US. Martin’s debut EP Small World was released in 2017 and is worth a listen to, and you should also check out his more recent 2018 single Love Strong which has a country-cross-pop feel to it. Martin has both a talent for song writing as well as a voice that makes you want to listen, and I look forward to seeing where he will go next.
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