Emotionally charged acoustic rock is Lisa Martin’s hallmark sound. Drawing on diverse influences spanning the last 3 decades, Martin’s music bridges the elements of folk, rock, country and blues with her pop sensibilities always highly evident in the mix. Whether performing solo or with a full band, she is always well received and captivates the audience with her powerful vocals, guitar prowess, heartfelt delivery and quick wit. Her live performances, which run the gamut from songs of love and loss to her rollicking takes on life's lessons, always exceed the listeners expectations and are steadily earning her a following of loyal fans throughout the Northeast.
A Western MA native, Martin has performed regionally in the northeast and in parts of the mid-west. She has opened for many nationally touring artists including Melanie, Patty Larkin, Vonda Shephard, Livingston Taylor, Aztec Two-Step, Steve Forbert, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, Toshi Reagon and others and has headlined at the legendary Iron Horse Music Hall, in her home territory of Northampton, MA. Highlights of her regional performances include the Newport Sunset Festival, the Hear In Rhode Island stage at the Newport Folk Festival, the Midwest Music Summit and the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference.
Her debut CD, “Set Me On Fire”, garnered 2 nominations in the Just Plain Folks Music Awards in 2001 and was also recognized in 2003, earning a Live Wire Award from the Springfield Republican, which recognized 10 local artists/bands for that year. Positive reviews from fans and critics continue to trickle in as Martin’s exposure grows.
This Sophmore effort and follow up CD, Lisa Martin - Live! was recorded at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA in February 2007 and features some stellar players including Jim Henry (electric guitar, lap steel and mandolin), Derrick Jordan (violin), Guy Devito (bass), Billy Klock (drums), Brad Willard (drums on "Fine") and Bill Newton and Mike Young on backing vocals. This disc features 9 new original tracks, 2 covers and lots of great energy.
CD REVIEW FROM MOTIF MAGAZINE, PROVIDENCE, RI 9/18/07
by Don DiMuccio
As a musician, I'm intimately familiar with a very painful reality - recording a live record sucks.
I apologize for speaking in the familiar tone, but it has to be said. Unlike the luxury of redoes afforded to an artist in the studio, the on-the-fly approach often leaves a musician flying by the seat of their pants. Granted, in the multimillion dollar platinum world of bigtime showbiz, the art of multi-track recording allows bands to touch up the rough spots after the fact in the studio, and yet still label the project a "live effort" guilt-free. However in the indie side of town, the adage is get it right the first time or pay more money that you don't even have to try to get it right a second time.
And that's why I'm so utterly impressed with the latest CD by Lisa Martin, recorded entirely Live at The Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. Before even delving into the disc's lyrical content or song choices, the listener is immediately struck with the fact that the sonic quality is better than most albums that have been pawned over and pulled apart in some of the area's finest musical laboratories. Granted, that credit might well go to the record's mastering engineer. But the greater accolade bestowed upon Live is the note-perfect singing and musical performances, whose credit rests squarely on the shoulders of Lisa Martin and her outstanding backing band. The self-described "emotionally-charged acoustic folk rock" singer-songwriter truly succeeds in catching lightening in a bottle with these eleven near perfect offerings.
Hailing from western Massachusetts, Lisa Martin has carved out quite the impressive career for herself, breaking out beyond her home area, and touring as far as the mid-west of these United States. Her music has been rightfully recognized through various poll nominations, and she even took home the coveted Live Wire Award from The Springfield Republican... well it's coveted in Springfield anyway. But the point remains that whether headlining regionally or opening for national acts like Livingston Taylor or Patty Larkin, Martin never fails to deliver an infectious and unique style of energized alt-country folk-rock.
The CD starts with a strong example of Lisa Martin's penchant for the catchy, memorable hook. The song "Another Lonely Night" is a shining illustration of the previously mentioned pop-country-folk style with an eye on strong lyrics: "Drink until he drowns his pain, til he just can't feel - These mortal wounds driving him insane, wounds that will never heal." "Good Love Is Hard To Find," one of the disc's more whimsical tracks, laments the litany of bad relationship choices: "How about Steve, he's bound to leave, Irons in the fire and something up his sleeve - Hello Joe you move too slow, drift through life, easy come easy go - Been down this road so many times, good love is hard to find."
Backed by an impressive band, which includes members of Mary Chapin-Carpenter and Paula Cole's touring outfits, Lisa Martin delivers a strong, coherent performance on Live, which, in my estimation, can probably only be matched by truly catching one of her actual live performances.
And speaking of, Martin and company have planned a CD release party at Providence's Brooklyn Coffee & Tea House on Oct 6. For fans of catchy folk rock with an eye toward country, any of her shows are must-see performances.
Other Press Quotes:
"Few of her acoustic cohorts can rock out like she does…" - B. Goslow, Worcester Phoenix
“This disc [Set Me On Fire] highlights Martin’s songwriting ability and her knack for wringing out all the passion that could possibly fit into a three-minute song.” - Donnie Moorhouse, Springfield Republican
“The authenticity in Martin’s voice was enough to make Sheryl Crow look like a flimsy sell-out.” - D. Barry, Hartford Advocate
"….she says what she means in a way that sounds as if she means what she says." - S. McClennan, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
"Lisa Martin writes songs that are so melodic and catchy, that it's impossible to get them out of your head. Fortunately, you'd never want them to leave anyway!" - Mark Erelli, Signature Sounds Recording Artist
"Lisa has a beautiful voice and is a first rate musician." - Stephen Kellogg, singer-songwriter
"Lisa Martin's songs are a rare combination of crushed velvet and corduroy overalls - silky, sexy and you never want to take them off!" - Justina Golden, Profound Sound Voice Studio