Pen’s Eye View Interview on ‘Fall On Your Sword’ & other things!

New London, Connecticut crooner Daphne Lee Martin is, in every sense of the word, true to her craft. The singer/songwriter who dabbles in bits on country, jazz and pop, is one of few artists we’ve come across that lives, breaths, eats and sleeps music – from her vinyl record shop, The Telegraph, to her life of song writing, musical collaborations, and live performances. Martin herself, as much as she’s immersed in her craft, has a difficult time describing her songs…but her description is best nonetheless:Daphne Lee Martin -1“I feel like I sound like a filthy martini two thirds of the time, and satin sheets the other third. If you figure out what genre I am, please tell me, because I never know what to tell people when they ask about it. I feel like the kid that uses all the wrong colors in the coloring book; black lemons and purple grass, yellow elephants and green bricks.”

Music came early for Daphne, and she released her first record along with her mother and sister at the age of 17, as the trio the Windlasses. Shortly after that, Martin found herself in NYC with the Folk Music Society of New York. After gaining fantastic experience on the giant soundscape of the Big Apple, Daphne took to the water, sailing around the world on ships using music as a means of teaching sustainability, environmental science, and the importance of traditions to the communities of the future.

Martin’s story continues, when she finally landed in New London, playing with bands such as Raise the Rent. Today, she is standing on her own following the release of her debut twin records, Moxie and Frost, and continues to work on a fresh collection titled Fall On Your Sword. The album isn’t due out until the Fall, but Daphne has stayed our appetite for new music for now with a fresh cover of “Reciprocity”, from Loudon Wainwright III’s 1976 record, T Shirt. You can listen to the song by clicking over to, but we still wanted to get into the details of the upcoming full collection.

Martin told us more about Fall On Your Sword, saying “This is the first record I have written as a whole. I sat down with my drummer and worked out some beats I wanted to start from, and I decided on some pieces of literature I wanted to base those songs on. It took almost two years to shape them all out. It’s a completely different kind of writing than the lightning strikes kind of stuff I have done before, with each song standing very much on its own. My records have been criticized in the past for being disjointed, more like collections of songs than albums, and I wanted to see if I could build something with lyrical and melodic threads, songs that are all part of one larger piece.” While we’ll have to wait for the new album, you can catch Daphne on tour nationally starting in a couple weeks. Don’t hesitate to make your way to a show. Prepare yourself for all that is to come, by reading on for all of the answers to the XXQs below.

XXQs: Daphne Lee Martin (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?

Daphne Lee Martin (DM): I feel like I sound like a filthy martini two thirds of the time, and satin sheets the other third. If you figure out what genre I am, please tell me, because I never know what to tell people when they ask about it. I feel like the kid that uses all the wrong colors in the coloring book; black lemons and purple grass, yellow elephants and green bricks. If I had to choose a box, I’d have to say Singer/Songwriter but I lean heavily on country, pop, and jazz influences. I just hate boxes. I want to do it all, and I’ve only just begun! The quotes that have made me smile in the past were Charleston City Paper called me “Torch Folk” and some vinyl seller on eBay labeled my album “Raunchy Cabaret Pop”. I can live with both of those.

PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

DM: My first big concert in a stadium was The Cranberries with Toad the Wet Sprocket in support. It was incredible. I wanted to be Dolores. And I wanted to write like Glen Phillips then, so that concert was pretty mind-blowing to tween me. I grew up on oldies radio, lots of the pop of the 50s and 60s, old (real) country, and of course the local Appalachian stuff, lots of Old Time music, ballads, hymns, and a healthy dose of the sensitive 70s songwriters like Neil Young, Jim Croce, David Gates, and James Taylor. My mom couldn’t stand playing anyone around the house whose voice wasn’t silky, so folks like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan were adult acquisitions.

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like? 

DM: I don’t really remember a first show, per se. I’ve been performing informally since I was a kid, and since music has always been a social thing for my family, it seemed as perfectly natural to do it with a microphone and stage as wicker chairs on the porch. Breaking into the “scene” was a similar experience; really just a natural extension of what was already happening. Like I hatched in the estuary and just grew and swam out to deeper waters.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Daphne Lee Martin show?

DM: It all depends on the show. Sometimes I’m able to bring a band out with me, and sometimes I’m all by my lonesome. So you’ll hear different parts of the albums based on the players that can roll with me, lots of backstory, and very often a surprise collaboration with a local musician. Every show is an adventure.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?

DM: Who’s my anchor? There’s almost always someone in the crowd that I can come back to and make eye contact with that is genuinely into what’s going on and they anchor me. I try to find that person early on in the set and make musical love to them. Also, is the organ too loud (laughing)?

PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?

DM: Stories. For as different as we all are, music has this way of finding us all in the same stories. Moving and thinking and feeling together. I love that most of all.

Daphne Lee Martin 11038748_750552021729749_7923917590042684645_oPEV: What is the underlying inspiration for your music? 

DM: It’s better than factory work? I’ve never not made music. It wasn’t a choice, it just was. Inspiration comes and goes with moods, sugar highs, relationships. The muse talks when she’s good and ready. There are no rules except the rule that this is what I am, what I do. David Amram is one of my favorite writer/storytellers because when he describes music, he talks about things like the sound of the faucet dripping, or a motorcycle tearing down the street. Sounds that illicit emotion, tell a story. You can find rhythm and vibration in a lot of things if you’re listening.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

DM: Insofar as I like to remember people who have helped me along, yes. There are proud moments and moments where I know I didn’t give it my all, people I could have done better by and situations I should have/have not let happen. But like then, I’m pretty much always looking forward, and glad to have company along the way when the right people stick.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

DM: Wouldn’t you like to know?

PEV: What happens when you hit a brick wall when writing? What are your methods to get over it?

DM: Funny answer first: Gin. And if that doesn’t work, more gin. Then I listen to Paul Simon and want to give up. Then I read more books and it shakes the whole thing loose. Real answer: There’s no end of stories to tell. I also do a lot of ‘living’ on the road, hearing different perspectives and while I do drink gin and read a lot, I find myself going back more and more to all the times I have been surprised or enlightened by someone I’ve met on tour or whose record ripped my heart out.

PEV: How do you think the industry has changed since you first started out?

DM: I own an old school vinyl record shop. And seeing the resurgence of vinyl has been heartwarming in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It’s really easy to get frustrated and say “well the industry is tanked” or “what are these kids listening to these days?” but on the ground, on an individual basis, that’s not what’s going on at all. People crave something REAL, something they can hold, remember, something that is more than a passing fad. That’s where the “industry” lost touch; they blow up a single and take the money and run rather than developing artists. Music is a shared experience, not a spoonful of whatever garbage they want you to swallow. The good stuff always rises to the top.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, a fourth LP titled Fall On Your Sword? What was the writing process like for this album? 

DM: This is the first record I have written as a whole. I sat down with my drummer and worked out some beats I wanted to start from, and I decided on some pieces of literature I wanted to base those songs on. It took almost two years to shape them all out. It’s a completely different kind of writing than the lightning strikes kind of stuff I have done before, with each song standing very much on its own. My records have been criticized in the past for being disjointed, more like collections of songs than albums, and I wanted to see if I could build something with lyrical and melodic threads, songs that are all part of one larger piece.

PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

DM: I would love very much to go outside the country, especially in Europe where some of my music has done really well. I’ve traveled sailing and just for fun outside the states, but never to tour. This Spring will be my first run in the American Southwest and I’m really excited to meet people there as well. Traveling has always been one of my favorite things to do; new places, weird stuff, great people. I want to do it all!

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?

DM: My fella is a rock star. Literally. He’s been musician most of his life and has done the touring band thing so he understands very well the demands of what I’m doing now. And he’s all in, just like me. We spent the first bunch of years together building up our home, our community and our record shop so that we could sustain working in music together for a long time without having to go get soul-sucking day jobs. And all of our real friends celebrate the fact that we’re giving this our all, some of them think we’re crazy, but hey…

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

DM: The occasional Netflix binge – just finished the first round of Empire. But when I’m home I’m always trying to get as much time as I can with friends. There’s such an amazing arts scene here and there’s always a gallery opening or poetry performance or play or festival going on, and I want to support all of it and see everyone. My fella and I also work with a couple of non-profit arts groups that put on large scale events around town, so there’s plenty to keep us busy there too.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?

DM: Tom Waits. I wouldn’t have taken the shape I did without his voice in the background. But if not Tom, I think Beck, because honestly that sounds like it would be the most fun a person could have with their pants on.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

DM: There are so many good acts kicking around, slogging through the lower tiers of the business catching little breaks as they can. Every new city I visit I meet more of them. I’m crazy about what’s going on in the Philly/NJ scene right now; check out Ron Gallo and Francis Lombardi, each just fantastic writers with new projects coming out that are incredible. For live performance, the best thing I’ve seen in a long time is Tall Tall Trees – you won’t be the same after you see this show. And the East Nashville scene is making REAL honesttogod actual country music again, a breath of fresh air, and at the top of that heap in my opinion is Andrew Combs. His new album will be in my top 5 for a long time to come.

PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what would you do for a career?

DM: Thought hadn’t crossed my mind. But it would have to be some other kind of art.

PEV: So, what is next for Daphne Lee Martin?

DM: Another national run of tour dates in late April and May, regional New England stuff and finishing up my alt-country record in the summer, releasingFall On Your Sword in September and touring again the rest of the year. Rinse, repeat.

For more information, click to

Pop-Break Premieres ‘This Must Be The Place’ Cover!

Nooga on the Tom Waits cover!

Daphne Lee Martin, “I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You” (Tom Waits cover)
There’s nothing better than the music of Tom Waits to drag you through the emotional wringer, leaving you exhausted, shivering and exhilarated. And moreso than many other artists, singer-songwriter Daphne Lee Martin sees the potential in making his songs your own, of finding yourself within the worlds that Waits creates. It’s no small task impressing a fan of Tom Waits, but that is exactly what Martin has done with her cover of “I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love with You.”

Part of a series of standalone covers, this track lets Martin get at the heart of the music—the slightly foggy piano notes cautiously wrap themselves around her voice, lifting it and unfurling it in subtle and unnerving ways. There’s a stark minimalism and grace to the music here, as if Martin is simply a musical conduit to the past. The original had a resonant wellspring of emotion pouring from every musical pore, and Martin ably translates this into something that is respectful yet distinct.

Elm City Folk Festival this Sunday!

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 1.47.03 PMElm City Folk Festival Gives Voice To City

BY | APR 9, 2015 12:24 PM

“You want something to happen, you have to make it happen,” said Margaret Milano, who has organized the first Elm City Folk Festival, a three-day, multiple-venue extravaganza of music that features over 20 acts from New Haven and beyond.

The festival begins this Friday night at Anna Liffey’s, Cafe Nine, Neverending Books, and Three Sheetsand runs through Sunday.



The idea for the festival first came to Milano and musician Greg Perault in January. They imagined the festival as “a big party, a celebration.” But the concept quickly grew. The list of acts Milano wanted to involve “came to me just as others things do.” She knew “there was no way it was going to be one day, or one night.”Milano has been booking shows at Cafe Nine for over 10 years and has worked with other venues in town. She reached out to Anna Liffey’s and Three Sheets, who were quickly on board. Then she contacted the bands on her list, and the rosters for each night filled — from Goodnight Blue Moon andNo Line North to Elison Jackson and Daphne Lee Martin.

To hear Milano describe it, it sounds easy to organize. It’s a testament to the work she’s done over the years booking acts and getting to know musicians in New Haven and across the state. Even after years of working in the local music scene, she still goes out all the time to hear live music.

“I can’t stay in,” she said. “I’m too curious about things.”

The Elm City lineup is eclectic, encompassing An Historic, Kevin MF King, Frank Critelli, Lys Guillorn,Kath Bloom, and Milksop: Unsung — all acts that draw from the well of folk music from America and elsewhere, yet take it in directions that can make categorization a little tricky.

“The fact that you can have Milksop and these other kinds of bands that can’t be tightly packaged is great,” said Sam Perduta, of Elison Jackson, which plays at Three Sheets on Saturday. “It’s a good venue for people who are doing another kind of thing.”

At the same time, though, the Elm City Folk Festival is true to its name. Like Ideat Village before it, by pulling so much from the city itself, it’s a sampling of what the city — or at least a certain aspect of the city — sounds like.

“I think that more and more people are thinking about things that way,” said Daphne Lee Martin of the festival’s city, and by extension, regional focus. She’s coming in from New London to play at Three Sheets on Sunday.

The regional focus goes well with folk music — a label that gets broader and harder to define as it gathers energy and enthusiasm.

“I think the culture is course-correcting itself,” Martin said. “Everything became so commercialized and so corporate for a while. But you can tell there’s a spiritual void in that, and so people are coming back to folk music. They want something real and they want something with substance, and that’s pretty refreshing. They’re going back to older ways that feel better to them.”

Milano is already talking about organizing a bigger festival for next year. She’s thinking about T-shirts and tote bags, more bands, more sponsors.

But it’s really all about the music, about “bands getting psyched, bands getting more excited to play,” she said. “Because they’re bands that I believe in.”

The Elm City Folk Festival runs Apr. 10 to Apr. 12 at multiple venues throughout New Haven.

Folk Radio UK Premiere’s ‘Reciprocity’ duet with Eric Lichter (Loudon Wainwright iii Cover)

Premiere: Daphne Lee Martin - Reciprocity (+ Song of the Day)Premiere: Daphne Lee Martin – Reciprocity (+ Song of the Day)

by on 10 MARCH, 2015


Our Song of the Day is a premiere from Daphne Lee Martin with her new cover single “Reciprocity”, a song some of you may recall came from the pen of Loudon Wainwright III which featured on his T Shirt album from 1976.

Daphne Lee Martin has clearly given a lot of thought to the songs she’d like to cover and her reasons for covering this song just emphasise her admirable approach:

I chose this cover because I grew up listening to the more comic songs of Loudon Wainwright iii and when I stumbled on a vinyl copy of the T Shirtalbum and gave it a spin, I was completely struck by the depth and darkness of the lyrics in this piece. When I asked around, it seemed like hardly anyone had even heard the song, let alone covered it. It’s a tremendous piece of writing and I hope that more people will discover his more obscure catalog.

In this instance she not only delivers a very fine version accompanied by Eric Michael Lichter, owner of Dirt Floor Studios in Chester, CT. but together they breathe new life into it. The song is one of a series of stand alone covers, set to release this spring.

The T Shirt album was, for want of a better explanation, released at the wrong time when the music climate was shifting to punk rock. A narrow-minded journalist on Rolling Stone added fuel to the fire by slaying it in a review that reportedly saw Loudon take to his bed for 5 days. Time has healed that wound and it has since been re-mastered but what better measure of a song then to see a young talent like Daphne Lee Martin cover it out of a genuine love of the songwriting.

For those who need their memories refreshing on the original, how about this live 1977 performance on the Old Grey Whistle Test.

Elmore Magazine Premieres ‘I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You’

elmoreEXCLUSIVE: Daphne Lee Martin Covers Tom Waits – Listen

Daphne Lee Martin, Tom Waits, You Say Trouble I Say Fun tour

As a part of her series of cover song singles, Daphne Lee Martin is releasing her version of the Tom Waits classic “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You” and Elmore has the exclusive premiere.

The song (the original of which first appeared on Waits’ debut album, Closing Time) centers on Martin’s smoky, mournful vocals, accompanied by a reverb-drenched piano and some spare synth strings. It is true to the spirit, if not the instrumentation, of the original, which is perhaps one of the most explicitly romantic songs in Waits’ large, diverse catalog.

Check out the track below, and catch Martin on her You Say Trouble I Say Fun tour through March 23.


Next Show with Hannah Fair & the DuPont Brothers

spaceflyerDetails at the event page Here.
Daphne Lee Martin
New London, CT
Forever blending genres in the legacy of the great Tin Pan Alley songwriters, Daphne takes beloved traditional southern roots sounds and runs them through megaphones, mellotron, a very old tube amp, a swamp and a dark alley or two. As always, the lyrics are fermented and distilled in a bathtub full of misfit Interbellum prose.

The DuPont Brothers
Burlington, VT
Two brothers reunite after years of geographical separation by a fortified collaboration in music. Blending the contemplative winters of the northeast with the solitary beauty of southwestern desert, Sam and Zack DuPont are now coconspirators in a shared passion that runs deep in their family. This Burlington Vermont made duo has hit the ground running since the formation of the group in March of 2013. The brothers have recently shared the stage with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Ben Sollee, Gin Wigmore, Chris Thomas King, Langhorne Slim, Howie Day and The Lone Bellow to name a few. Lush finger-style guitar work is complimented by elegant prose and a vocal blend that could only be matched by blood relation. The sound is Vermont made Folk-Americana.

Hannah Fair
East Hampton, CT
We don’t congratulate a runner when they have just started a race. No matter how great a lead they have built in the early going and how inevitable their victory seems, it’s just not the right time. Likewise, now is not the time to congratulate Hannah Fair, despite all she has accomplished already. We can celebrate, of course, the fact that she has already released a wonderful album, Open Road. We can cheer about the fact that she has recorded a live session for today’s preeminent music site, Daytrotter. And we can rejoice in the fact that she has a growing collection of new songs that we will get to hear when she reaches the next mile marker of a new album. So don’t congratulate her yet, but do watch her run the rest of the race: see her command a stage in person; sit with her records and wonder how she wrote a song just for you; listen to her switch lanes from folk to Americana to blues to something all her own, seemingly without effort. Ignore the fact that you know Hannah Fair is going to win, and enjoy watching her get to the finish line.

Off till 2015! Thanks for a great year!

Well, the year is finally winding down. So many big life changes in 2014 I can’t even count.  I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of it:

Tour-mates James Maple, Amy McCarley and Hannah Fair

Fantastic band Isaac Young, Brad Bensko, David Keith, Stephen Cusano, Thor Jensen, Danny Motta, Gary Buttery, Rob Funk, David Dorfman, and Matt Lindauer

Amazing session players that have been working so hard to help make the forthcoming releases a reality, Alison Kelley, Anjanine Bonet, Graham Thompson, Dayna Osan, Matt Covey, Julio Amaro, Craig Edwards, Michael Day, Kaia Pazdersky, Rob Zeigler, Jess Brey, Matt Ross, Andrew Camacho, Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez, Jared Horner, Sue Menhart, Bob Burt, and Matt Potter

Home Team holding down the fort at the studio and record shop while I galavant about the country Marko Fontaine, Tanner Davis, David Freeburg, and my fantastic husband Rich Martin

Rupam at Never Better and all of the radio stations across the country that added, spun and charted Frost.

The bloggers, journalists, tapers and everyone who wrote about, documented, helped book, played on, or came to the shows. So so so many of you amazing peeps!



12/12 show with Ron Gallo!

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 8.21.53 PMYep, me and this guy are doing it up right at The Oasis Pub on December 12th! I will be trotting out a few new songs from the forthcoming album #FallOnYourSword and Ron will be melting faces as usual.  Here’s the event page for more details!

Ron’s new album is just wonderful. You can check out his new music in all kinds of places on the interwebs, but here’s a new video…