I hand the album to someone and they say,
"Is that really a mule? It's so....big! I thought mules were smaller..."
And I say,
"Yes, that IS a mule. Her name is Dolly. She IS big... and beautiful! Donkeys are smaller, but mules have horse in them so..."
And they say,
"Why is the album called 'The Mule?'"
And I say,
"well....the mule is a carrying animal..."
Here, let me just give you some of the liner notes and then some...
The mule is a carrying animal, like me. Mules carry goods; I carry stories. I hold the unseen, give voice to the silences, carry and identify trouble, and try to heal my loved ones with a tenacity I have seen in no one else. It's high time I let the stories and their people go, let their weight off my shoulders, stand taller and lighter. At some point I thought of putting a bunch of songs together under the title "The Mule" because I liked the metaphor I created in my song, "The Mule," and noticed I had also created a carrying trilogy. Then I talked to people (especially my former life partner, Littlebird, who helped me create the track listing and started creating a mule cartoon for me, for the album...) about the idea and got enough feedback to create this here "theme" album. It's been a long, long time coming. I wrote most of these songs before I recorded my previous album, "brave enough," but chose not to put these songs on that album because these songs are heavier and required a more weighty recording process. The songwriting spans ten years - ten years of stories I've carried. The songs tend to explore the bounds of relationships and identities - interior, romantic, social, public. Relatives, friends, lovers, street harassers - leave their imprints on me and show up in my texts. I am just trying to get the word out. I am just trying to get free by telling. I hope you can feel all the beauty, emotion, love, care, power, fight, struggle, commonality, and truth. I hope that we can each be brave enough to break our silences and let our stories take flight, so that we may live fully and well on the ground. Let me set them free. Blessed be.
"...love emanates from every note." - Vienna Teng
"Incomparable!" - Utah Phillips
"Damn!" - Cesca Waterfield
Featured on MTV/LOGO, NPR, WERS, and in Curve Magazine, and voted Rhode Island\'s Best Female Alt-Rock Vocalist, award-winning songwriter and avant-soul piano diva Kristi Martel grew up in New England and earned an ASCAP grant and two music degrees (Bard and Mills College) before beginning her touring and recording career. While at school the visionary soulsinger choreographed performance art and composed vocal music to tell stories about relationships, cultural identity, body image, and body memory. "The Mule" is a project long in the making that seems to integrate her through-composed, performance art, and soulsinger selves into one work.
Kristi's piano playing combines her love of blues dissonance and syncopation with her classical training. Her voice is at once sweet and bitter, able to leap and soar, whisper and rattle, expressive of any emotion she chooses and fluid throughout her multi-octave range. She is visionary in her lyrics and composition, writing her prayers for solace and quirky relationship narratives in the same breath. Her sweet presence and fearless songwriting endear audiences nationwide.
Through Sealed Lip Records, Kristi has released seven CDs. "The Mule" was recorded just 5 short months after her former life partner's suicide in August 2003. She and her partner, Littlebird, had planned many things about the album together, and they both knew it would be very difficult to record, because so much of the work is so musically and emotionally challenging. Recording the album was made even harder by Littlebird's death. The challenge and the beauty can be heard clearly in these remarkable songs.
The Sacred Whore Demos (LP 2009)
Ravengirl (LP 2006)
Quaint & Curious Ravendemos (LP 2005)
The Mule (LP 2004)
bound (single 2003)
brave enough (LP 2001)
give me a little... (EP 2000)