Well, Traditions was an absolute blast and I’ll be spending the weekend with these fine fellas once again at Newport Folk Festival! But when the dust settles from that, I’ll be playing with my amazing acoustic trio at Hygienic Art on August 2nd at 7pm. You can get tickets HERE.
Much love from the wearer of many hats,
More about the Duhks:
|No band epitomizes the polyethnic strands of modern folk music better than The Duhks. Since forming in Winnipeg in 2001 The Duhks have created a dynamic blend of old-timey, French Canadian and Celtic music punched up with shades of blues, soul and driving Afro Cuban rhythms that leaves festival crowds on their feet. Over the course of 4 critically-acclaimed albums the band has earned Juno and Grammy awards and nominations and have played a significant role in the neo-folk revival.
On Beyond the Blue The Duhks are in the best form of their 13 year career. Rejuvenated by a two year hiatus and energized by the return of vocalist Jessee Havey and the addition of new members, fiddler Rosie Newton, drummer/percussionist Kevin Garcia, and guitarist/bouzouki player Colin Savoie-Levac, The Duhks founder Leonard Podolak found an amazing pallet of inspiration for the new project. “All of the people who have been in the band over the years, including non-touring founding members Tania Elizabeth and Jordan McConnell (who both appear on the album) have had a hand in shaping our sound and direction. The goal with the new record was to draw on everything we’ve learned over the years and everything we know about where we want to take the music now and create something as fresh, exciting and forward thinking as possible.” Toward that end, the band turned to the rising production team of Mike + Ruthy (Mike Merenda and Ruth Unger of The Mammals), who brought a progressive approach to production that was still firmly rooted in the traditions of folk music.
Musically, the new project is reminiscent of 2006′s Grammy-nominated Migrations, but with a sound that is even more dense and grittier than 2008′s Fast Paced World. The album opens with the title track, a gorgeous song by Beth Nielsen Chapman and Gary Nicholson that begins with the bell-like drone of Leonard’s claw hammer banjo and the ethereal sound of guest Charlie Rose’s lap steel before giving way to Jessee’s expressive alto, perfectly complemented by Tania’s harmonies. On “Banjo Roustabout” electric guitar and drums bring out the more aggressive side of the band’s sound while “Suffer No Fools” is a beautifully rendered acoustic waltz ornamented by banjo, strings and percussion and beautifully sung by Jesse and Tania. Taken as a whole, Beyond the Blue represents a group of musicians at the peak of their powers, the music shaped by their collective experience of years on the road and driven by the sheer joy and inspiration that comes from reuniting and rediscovering that magic that drew them together in the first place.
Sigh. This song.
What if everything had gone differently? What if I’d made another decision at just that one moment of time? What path would I have been on if I’d just…?
Regret is a strange bedfellow. The veil of our history, filtering forever how we see the world ahead of us. I read once somewhere that if you haven’t seen someone in the last five minutes, you can never make the assumption that you truly know them as they are now- life changing moments happen all the time and can shift our direction in an instant. Everyone seems so driven toward goals, ends, destinations, accomplishments, finality- even with the knowledge that the good stuff happens along the way, we seldom stop to appreciate when we have right this very now. The creation of memories that will fill us when we no longer have the strength, energy, and time to enjoy life the way we do when we are young.
So take the long way home. Try and forgive him for not calling you back, you had an amazing time together while it lasted and your heart isn’t so broken after all. Hug your friends and spend time with your kids and your parents. Be unafraid. Dance in the rain, and get soaking wet. Be ridiculous and don’t apologize for it. Admit your shortcomings and learn to live with yourself. Make it rain.
You pull up in a long black car
Saying we could fall heavy and we could fall hard
But I have heard your songs, what a mess you are
You’re gonna make it rain on me
You spread like fire through my weeds
And it is only what I’m wanting that makes me weak
But it is your sweet bourbon burning in my cheeks
So make it rain on me
Won’t you make it rain
Let’s take the long way home and whatever it brings
Yes I hear the thunder roll but I am not afraid to get caught in the rain
So make it rain
I guess that I must seem pretty tough
When I ask you not to call it love
But really I am softer than your touch
So make it rain on me
It’s what you think you cannot have that you are sure you need
And it’s the honey you keep talking will be the death of me
But maybe you are exactly what I need
So make it rain on me
Lyrical cues I borrowed for this song come from a few places, the long black car features in a Jim Carpenter song, Hole In My Heart. Jim mastered Frost and I just adore him and everything he does. I also borrowed from Woody Guthrie again, a passage where he describes a girl dancing and setting his weeds on fire. And of course, the best songwriter in the world, Mr. Tom Waits, although the namesake song is a far cry from the theme, I actually borrowed more from Take the Long Way Home.
THANK YOU! I’ve been chosen from among dozens of fantastic songwriters to stand among the Top 5 in CT. Thank you so much for voting and nominating me! The ceremony will take place June 10th at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford. Click HERE for the full list of nominees in each category and more info on the ceremony.
In the meantime, here’s a fantastic new review for Frost from Lonesome Noise.
New London’s Daphne Lee Martin is a refreshing marvel, a chanteuse always willing to push her music forward while maintaining classic vocals that are drenched in the colors of old nightclubs from thousands of moons ago. The kind born from bottles of gin and beautiful brass instruments and the Appalachian night-air. The past has always been there in her songs: but she’s found a way to deliciously modernize.
Whereas Martin’s prior release, Moxie, is a sexy journey along the dark alleys of sin and excess,Frost makes its way toward a yellow brick road. It’s buoyant, whimsical, bright. She calls the two records “twins,” but I think Frost is more of a younger sister, the one who chooses romance over salacity.
“Night We Fell In Love” is an example of the optimism, a song written about a night eight years ago when she first kissed the man who became her husband. Musically, it’s a breathy jaunt, with bass and percussion playing with one another like newly entwined lovers. It also features singing from six-year old Miss Ada Mae Florek during the outro, which further exposes a sense of hope.
“Little Birds” begins with electronic swells before the guitar comes in, and Martin sings:
you are light as a bird, with your hollow bones
bringing me branches to build me a nest, ribbons of silk and colorful yarns
a beautiful cradle to keep me safe and warm
a kiss on the forehead all fear to disarm
is the only paradise I will ever know
After another verse, it launches into a fun interlude of guitars and synths whirling around the space, hopeful and sprightly. Even a song called “Make It Rain” performs in a throw-back, lively way, the piano reminiscent of McCartney’s “Oh, Darling!”
It’s difficult not to listen to Frost without feeling like Spring is bursting forth from the Winter that is Moxie. The instrumentation is open, interesting, at times unusual. But Martin’s voice grounds everything. She’s a storyteller. She causes you to lean in and see through her hypnotic purview.Frost continues her run of excellent songwriting and proves there are very few of her high ability to craft songs with such schizophrenic sublimity.
In early 2006, I’d just ended a very long relationship and was fantastically gun-shy about getting serious with anyone for a long while. I spent a good amount of time then at a little tavern called The Dutch, a neighborhood joint that only serves beer and wine, closes early, and is the hub in town where all of the artists congregate, at any given table there will be a painter, a poet, a writer, a musician or three… Eugene O’Neill even used to frequent the place.
I was hanging with my friends Liz and Rich (who was bartending and also recently single) and bemoaning the big empty house and cold existence of being single for really the first time in my life when Liz, who had apparently had enough of both Rich’s and my complaining, grabbed us each by the shoulders and smooshed us into each other. Something happened. All of a sudden, the blur came into focus. I stayed on to help Rich clean up the bar that night and then we went for a walk in the park along the river, stayed up all night talking. We were inseparable from that moment on.
Not long after, Rich found a cheap banjo at a local pawn shop and brought it home thinking he might teach himself how to play it. Like most of the things he brings home (gadgets, clothes, toys, pretty much anything) I quickly reallocated it for myself, I’m good that way. When you pick up a new-to-you instrument the most amazing thing happens- a new tuning or way of looking at chords, even just the shapes your hand makes when you touch the fretboard, makes all kinds of cool interpretations of things come out of you- things you would have never done on your old tried-and-true guitar or keyboard.
I suppose the gun-shy part of me begged the question, “Is this going to last? Will we be able to feel this way about each other when it isn’t new and crazy anymore? Will is stand the tests?” And I’m happy to say that 8 years and a whole lot of trials later, it has.
The little lady singing along at the end of the song is Miss Ada Mae Florek, the daughter of one of our dear friends and Rich’s bandmate in Brazen Hussy, Sara and our friend Jared from another great New London band, Street People. I had the pleasure of being by her side when Ada was born, nearly 6 years ago. And I have to tell you, Ada is a rock star. The crazy sounds you hear at the end of the song is a reverse banjo, played by Matt Lindauer.
Night We Fell In Love
Will you remember how I smiled?
Will you remember how we walked for miles?
Will you remember that one fateful kiss?
The night we fell in love
When the rains come & people close their shutters
& the storm clouds seem to hang right above us
Will you remember when you are soaking wet?
The night we fell in love
Will you still be tender when your hands
Know me better than your own homeland?
Will you remember how you held me then?
The night we fell in love
Check out the event page for more details, but Daphne will be performing that day as well- alongside labelmates Elison Jackson and Pocket Vinyl, as well is fantastic regional acts John Faraone, Sketch the Cataclysm and more.
TORCH FOLK | Daphne Lee Martin
Daphne Lee Martin’s coquettish coo swoons over perky blues and cocktail jazz with a post-modern flair. While her sound is undoubtedly nostalgic, her latest LP Frost is not bound by tradition. Martin deploys plenty of contemporary elements, from the theremin in the mournful “Five Points” (before it turns into a trip-funk dance-floor banger for its final two minutes) to the noisy blues lead that opens the swinging “More Flies With Honey,” not to mention the arsenal of subtle electronic textures she employs throughout the record. As a whole, Frost is a playfully impertinent eight-song collection that sweats glammy indulgence, with Martin genre-hopping without losing her smoky torch-like bearing. She’s reminiscent of folk-tronic-loving Beth Orton in how she retains many traditional trappings without being mired in them. Frost follows last year’s earthier, thematically linked Moxie. That album, which was fueled in part by a Kickstarter campaign, was accompanied by a photographic art book developed by Martin and artist Pola Esther featuring women throughout history who have struggled to embrace their sexuality and self-expression. —Chris Parker
Don’t forget, there is a string of great full band shows coming up! Visit the SHOWS page for details…
April 3rd | Pianos Showroom (Ludlow Street NYC)
Badassery ensues with the Frost CD release party in New York, special guests: Lindsey Mills, Isaac Young Quartet, and Underwater Country Club.
Joining us from Huntsville, AL, the amazing Amy McCarley and Andrew Sovine as well as our good pals form Newport RI, the Smokey Barrel Band! This will be a big show with all kinds of special guests, my 8th anniversary, and general homecoming madness!
We’ve been hoping to swing a show at Johnny D’s for a while now and it’s finally here! It’s a free show too, starting at 10pm. Can’t wait to knock that off the ole bucket list with all you gorgeous Bostonese!
April 12th | Jimmy’s Saloon (Newport RI)
April 19th | Record Store Day (Telegraph NL CT)
April 26th | Acoustic Cafe (Bridgeport CT)
and many more coming!!!