Category Archives: Prose

Random writing, free think, stream of consciousness is my dearest friend. Organizing comes when I’m sober, many days later.

Confessions | Love Is A Rebellious Bird

Feels
2014 was a heavy year for me. I lost several friends in the last months of 2013 and early in 2014. David Kleiman, who became basically my godfather/college education, took me under his wing when I had no one and nothing but an existential crisis and a guitar when I showed up in New York City at 18 years old. There will be another piece of music released soon that will go into more detail about the ways he saved my soul, so I’ll save it to that, but suffice to say here that his loss was crushing. I also lost Lou Killen, Bob Webb and David Lamb within the year. Every one of them far too young. And it made me think very hard about the relationships I spend my time on now. How much more time should I have spent with these wonderful people when I still could versus how much time I spend on people that just don’t give a fuck and probably never will. I lost my producer the day after David’s funeral, he texted me to say “I think I quit”. I could barely read it through the tears and in the midst of everything that was already crushed and bleeding, it all came into focus. Stop wasting time on the people who can’t, won’t, and dare not. Stop wasting time. There isn’t enough of it to waste, it could all end so soon.

Playahs
So, the insane fireandbrimstone voice you’re in love with on this track is the great Robert Zeigler, my next door neighbor and a videographer/producer, Danny Motta on trumpet, Julio Amaro & Thor Jensen on acoustic guitars, and DLM on vocals, synth, bass, sequenced drums and percussion, piano, organ and mellotron.

Lyrical, Production & Music Notes
So much of this song comes from Bizet’s opera ‘Carmen’. The title, many of the lyrics, and the melody hook. I have no idea why Habanera is not a more popular piece of music, it’s brilliant.

I wanted to make references to tattoos belonging to two people very dear to me. One bird and one reptile, represented here as Eagle & Snake because I love Central American folklore and the legend of Quetzalcoatl and the very real differences between the typical religious “struggle between good & evil” with the more human (native) beliefs of “struggles between self vs. others” and “wisdom vs. nobility”. Societies that embrace polytheism in the form of natural gods have always been fascinating to me because they don’t lay the ultimate responsibility for the way things turn out on one g-d, but largely on themselves and their relationships to each aspect (g-d) of their lives- for example, if you are diligent about appeasing/honoring the needs of an agricultural g-d, your crops will flourish.  It’s a beautiful living metaphor for the sense of personal responsibility that has become my own sort of religion.
For Rob’s parts, one hot-ass summer afternoon, several Coors Lights and a translator app later, we had filled in the gaps of the story with some of the poetry of Habanera.
This is one of two very heavily latin-influenced pieces on the album, and the piano was an attempt of mine to channel my nearly-obscene love for Cuban music and in particular, this guy…

Love Is A Rebellious Bird

surely i tell you today,
you think you hold it fast, and it flees!
once you said i was an angel
how did i ever fall from grace
when the only thing between us
love is a rebellious bird that no one can tame
it’s useless to chase it if it won’t play the game
if i had been a better lover
if i had been a better friend
caught between the eagle and the snake
all i could give to you was bourbon
and a place to lay your head
there are nights i pray the lord my soul to take
and lights gone out too soon
but how much of our fate
will we give over to the moon?
And they were drunk, drunk on the venom
g-dless people, crushed beneath the heel of jesus chr
ist
jesus christ, jesus christ
there are nights i pray the lord my soul to take
and lights gone out too soon
but how much of our fate
will we give over to the moon?

 

Confessions | Dreamchaser


Feels
The most powerful muses can give you beautiful songs and terrifying songs all at once. This is the sister song to Eskimo Bro, and I hope that I’m able to reconcile it all one day. This song is about lucid dreaming, walking in a state of altered reality. Seeing things which are not there and being completely blind to things that are very real to those around you. The gift and curse of being an artist is seeing the world as you want it to be rather than how it is.

Playahs
This one was very very simply done.  David Keith on drums. Anjanine Bonet on fiddle. DLM on synths, vocals, electric guitar, piano, wurlitzer, and bass.

Lyrical, Production & Music Notes
In my forever love of all things traditional, blended with my love of all things Leslie Feist and Nina Simone, I used their recordings of Sea Lion/See-Line Woman as my starting point on this one.

The sample reading is of Robert Beverly Hale reciting ‘Ode’ by Arthur O’Shaughnessy in a lecture. Also, this is the second reference to Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka on this album.

There is also a sample of my heartbeat, recorded after a good run and then slowed way down.
The Afro-Cuban piano is one of two similar parts on the album, sister to Love Is A Rebellious Bird. (yes, i wrote all these songs together and there’s SO much incest. ha!) I was listening quite a lot to Steve Wonder and I think I must have been channeling this…

And I have to give honorable mention once again to David Amram, who is a dear and generous spirit that I’ve been honored to see perform and spend time with on several occasions now, one of the influences behind Pull My Daisy from Dig & Be Dug. David gave a concert in New London a few summers ago and in the outdoor space at Hygienic Art with motorcycles and trains and cars going by, he made a joke about the interruptions saying that he could literally take those “annoying sounds” and make music of them. That music was in everything around us. I was literally on the verge of tears listening to him talk about it that way. Here’s one of his songs that I think shows you a little taste of that.

Dreamchaser

when the night falls and the sun goes sinking to the west
the light fails and all creatures go into their rest

i will find you

the night holds my secrets like I hold my skirts
up around my knees and i’m climbing barefoot through your dreams

i will find you

there on each shoulder sits the night and day
your silence suspends me as your eyes hold sway

i can hear music in the falling rain
you’re painting me dancing in your waking dreams

Confessions | I’d Take A Bullet For You

Feels
It’s hard to explain something so easy. Who doesn’t want to wake up next to someone who drives them wild? Sometimes at any cost. There’s a reason we are all fascinated by the story of Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow, we all kind of want to be them just a little bit. Go crazy, take what we want, and make love on the run.

Playahs
Matt Covey on drums, Isaac Young on wurlitzer and clarinet, Sue Menhart on spoken word, Craig Edwards on button accordion, Matt Potter on vocals, Anjanine Bonet on fiddle and vocals, Danny Motta on trumpet, Gary Buttery on Tuba, Jess Brey on flute, David Dorfman on baritone sax, Brad Bensko on bass, DLM on synths, percussion, vocals, flute, piano and acoustic guitar.

Chasing the Demo
This is the earliest demo of ‘I’d Take A Bullet For You’ from June 22, 2013, with only Daphne’s backing vocals and midi parts.

Lyrical, Production & Music Notes
So if you caught yourself singing Haiti to this, you’re spot on. This is definitely my brain on Arcade Fire.

But then, I really wanted to get the feeling of this absolutely beautiful tune from The Head & The Heart, and I really can’t tell you all how excited I am about sharing this song in the live show.

The reference to the “perfect drug”, of course is the second reference to Nine Inch Nails on the album. But this was mostly about the ‘criminally’ unjust lack of publicity Bonnie Parker’s epic poetry got in the wake of her dramatic demise.

The full poem was written in Kaufman Jail in 1932 .

The Story of Suicide Sal

We each of us have a good “alibi”
For being down here in the “joint”;
But few of them really are justified
If you get right down to the point.

You’ve heard of a woman’s “glory”
Being spent on a “downright cur,”
Still you can’t always judge the story
As true, being told by her.

As long as I’ve stayed on this “island,”
And heard “confidence tales” from each “gal,”
Only one seemed interesting and truthful —
The story of “Suicide Sal.”

Now “Sal” was a gal of rare beauty,
Though her features were coarse and tough;
She never once faltered from duty
To play on the “up and up.”

“Sal” told me this tale on the evening
Before she was turned out “free,”
And I’ll do my best to relate it
Just as she told it to me:

I was born on a ranch in Wyoming;
Not treated like Helen of Troy;
I was taught that “rods were rulers”
And “ranked” as a greasy cowboy.”

Then I left my old home for the city
To play in its mad dizzy whirl,
Not knowing how little of pity
It holds for a country girl.

There I fell for “the line” of a “henchman,”
A “professional killer” from “Chi”;
I couldn’t help loving him madly;
For him even now I would die.

One year we were desperately happy;
Our “ill gotten gains” we spent free;
I was taught the ways of the “underworld”;
Jack was just like a “god” to me.

I got on the “F.B.A.” payroll
To get the “inside lay” of the “job”;
The bank was “turning big money”!
It looked like a “cinch” for the “mob.”

Eighty grand without even a “rumble” —
Jack was last with the “loot” in the door,
When the “teller” dead-aimed a revolver
From where they forced him to lie on the floor.

I knew I had only a moment —
He would surely get Jack as he ran;
So I “staged” a “big fade out” beside him
And knocked the forty-five out of his hand.

They “rapped me down big” at the station,
And informed me that I’d get the blame
For the “dramatic stunt” pulled on the “teller”
Looked to them too much like a “game.”

The “police” called it a “frame-up,”
Said it was an “inside job,”
But I steadily denied any knowledge
Or dealings with “underworld mobs.”

The “gang” hired a couple of lawyers,
The best “fixers” in any man’s town,
But it takes more than lawyers and money
When Uncle Sam starts “shaking you down.”

I was charged as a “scion of gangland”
And tried for my wages of sin;
The “dirty dozen” found me guilty —
From five to fifty years in the pen.

I took the “rap” like good people,
And never one “squawk” did I make.
Jake “dropped himself” on the promise
That we make a “sensational break.”

Well, to shorten a sad lengthy story,
Five years have gone over my head
Without even so much as a letter–
At first I thought he was dead.

But not long ago I discovered
From a gal in the joint named Lyle,
That Jack and his “moll” had “got over”
And were living in true “gangster style.”

If he had returned to me sometime,
Though he hadn’t a cent to give,
I’d forget all this hell that he’s caused me,
And love him as long as I live.

But there’s no chance of his ever coming,
For he and his moll have no fears
But that I will die in this prison,
Or “flatten” this fifty years.

Tomorrow I’ll be on the “outside”
And I’ll “drop myself” on it today;
I’ll “bump ’em” if they give me the “hotsquat”
On this island out here in the bay…

The iron doors swung wide next morning
For a gruesome woman of waste,
Who at last had a chance to “fix it,”
Murder showed in her cynical face.

Not long ago I read in the paper
That a gal on the East Side got “hot,”
And when the smoke finally retreated
Two of gangdom were found “on the spot.”

It related the colorful story
of a “jilted gangster gal.”
Two days later, a “sub-gun” ended
The story of “Suicide Sal.”
— Bonnie Parker

I’d Take A Bullet For You

wake up, I’ve had the craziest dream, we hatched the craziest scheme
and sure enough you’re here asleep beside me
the perfect drug run through both of our bloods
i’m such a sucker for a happy ending

wake up and make love to me

you are silk and cotton, i am burlap and wool
but you laugh at all my gallows humor
with all the trappings of a fallen angel
the way i look at you starts wildfire rumors

wake up and make love to me

 

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 http://daphneleemartin.com/, 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

PensEyeView.com (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 http://daphneleemartin.com

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.

Milano.

MILANO.

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.

Confessions | Make It Rain

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.



Songwriter of the Year | 2014 CT Music Awards

connecticut-music-awards-

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.

lonesome-noiseBy: Christopher Aloysius Mariotti

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.

Confessions | Night We Fell In Love

 

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.

Production notes:
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

Confessions | Little Birds


This began as the saddest little waltz in all the world. So sad that it took a very long time to find its way into the real repertoire, but sat along the sidelines and watched all the other songs having fun. It was still mourning the loss of something that had taken away its innocence. It was the moment of admitting that music is entirely who I am, no longer who I am trying to be. Accepting the sacrifices that would inevitably come. The sacrifice of a stable income, the constant need to produce art that stirs and inspires others, the putting of my Self on display, the opening of my being to others- for real and for good. This song was my way of explaining to someone who had been very cruel to me that I was no longer going to lay across a bed in a room listening to the world outside the window, that I should be allowed to be- as I allowed him to be.

At the end of the day, it really is just me answering Ramona. There is “no one to beat you, no one to defeat you ‘cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad”. As easy as it is to give yourself over to it and float in the oblivion of itisntmyfaultitsjustthisway, the sadness becomes just as frustrating and suffocating as the striving ever was. So you straighten your back and begin again. And there’s nothing sad about that.

Little Birds

You are light as a bird with your hollow bones
B
ringing 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’ll ever know

I will lay across your bed & listen to the rain on the panes as you sing of Ramona
Your shoulders hang heavy over the keys
Till the ash finally drops as you lift to the 3
The soft gray smudge on the middle C is the only trouble heavy on my mind

When that golden dawn of yours breaks across this sky
& the dark that overwhelmed us gathers us into the light
Past the nights we wrestled terror & the nights we slept in peace
Will you look down into my face, let me fall from grace
& realize we’re both just little birds in flight

New England Music Awards nomination!

nemalogoWow!

THANK YOU for the nomination! I’m up for Female Performer of the Year! 

Voting is open now, so if you’ve got a second, please head over and cast your ballot! Here is the link. There are a bunch of other great CT acts on the bill as well, so please give some love to them:

Elison Jackson 

Floyd Kellogg & Violent Mae

Little Ugly

Jennifer Hill & Co.

Isaac Young Quartet

Frank Viele
Joey Batts & Them

Echo & Drake

and Kate Callahan.