BY his own admission, Joe Martin was a musician without a real sense of direction until the hit TV series Nashville changed his life.

Now Joe, who plays the Ale House in Clitheroe on Sunday night as part of his aptly-named Small World tour, is one of the country’s up-and-coming Americana artists.

Not only that, but Joe from Chipping has already impressed both audiences and musicians in the capital of country music Nashville including his own hero John Paul White from the multi-million selling duo the Civil Wars.

“I’ve been making music since I was five or six,” said Joe. “I started classical piano when I was six and then when I was about 12 I picked up a guitar and that was it.

“I was just doing covers and general folkie stuff. I even had a loop pedal at one stage so I probably wanted to be Ed Sheeran, but I needed direction. Then when Nashville came along it put me on the path I’m on now.”

The US TV series is set in Nashville in the world of country music but as well as Dallas-like storylines it is packed with great modern country songs.

“That was it for me, when I heard those songs I knew that was the direction I wanted to be going in,” he said.

Joe, a former pupil of Bleasdale School and Runshaw College went to study music in Leeds where he formed his own country band.

“I knew before I went to Leeds the line-up I wanted. I hadn’t written any songs at that point but I knew what I wanted the band to be.”

Joe’s fledgling musical career is already full of some amazing coincidences.

Through a family friend a rough demo CD he’d recorded led to an invite to play at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, one of the most famous venues in country.

“I got an email from them asking if I’d play because they’d got my demo. I was like ‘is this for real?’ I thought someone having me on.”

It was an invite Joe couldn’t refuse and he even quickly recorded his first EP which he officially launched at the venue in April.

The Bluebird date wasn’t the only extraordinary thing which happened to Joe while he was over in America.

He also managed to play one of his own songs to John Paul White.

“I’d seen him play in Manchester and got chatting to his guitarist who said if I was ever in Nashville I should make a detour to see their studio in Muscle Shoals,” said Joe. “When I got the Bluebird date I emailed then I said I was coming over, what had I got to lose?”

Amazingly Joe was invited over to the studios several hours drive from Nashville and eventually ended up playing one of his songs to the Civil Wars frontman.

“It was surreal. Here was the man who was the reason I was writing the songs I do and I was playing his vintage Gibson guitar in his studio singing one of my songs. He said he liked it so I’ll take that. I thought that after that I could die happy.”

Joe Martin, the Ale House, Clitheroe, Sunday, September 3