Victory Music Review of " In to trees "
A lone guitar and cello atmospherically open up the new offering from singer songwriter Martha Reich out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then Reich unfolds images wrapped in care to a wonderful instrumentation perfectly placed to allow her lyrics to take shape and give meaning. Reich co-produced with Larry Mitchell as well as climbing behind the console to engineer several tracks in this ambitious project born at two studios. She writes, sings, produces, engineers, plays guitars-acoustic & electric, also plays keyboards and tends to violin textures. She is well supported by Gregg Braden on acoustic guitar who also adds a Native Red Cedar flute and is also accompanied by Michael Kott on viola and cello. Josh Martin holds some of the tunes down on bass, but also adds a sweet mandolin to the work as producer Mitchell assists on acoustic and electric guitars.
Reich’s appeal comes through her vocals and lyrics, she seems to be a writer talking to us all about this life we are in, but I have the feeling she is also talking to herself in soft reassuring question that welcomes thought and rest. Rest from the weariness of life, of the fears that living life and accepting chance and choices always brings. As a writer I have fallen for the images and the quiet musical landscape that supports Martha’s vocal, which invite one in to explore with her feelings.
It would be diminishing to listen and reminisce, searching memory banks of other female artists that certainly have influenced this artist, but that seems like way too much work behind her melodic and textured tapestry of lyrics and music. What I find myself drifting off to, more than her well-crafted words and images, is the feel Reich employs in the music to support the story. Arrangements are rafted in flowing lush ideas that illuminate her realities, her dreams, her life. The sparse musical accompaniment is devised to assist her art/vision and become the form Reich employs, defines someone who knows where they want to take their audience.
“Buddha Blue” as, “To The Moon”, effortlessly unfolds in warmth, melody and heart. Ms. Reich truly hits her stride on the standard, “Moon River”. The treatments of this tune are a once in a lifetime ability to interrupt another’s classically crafted song and make it your own. Many singer/songwriters in my opinion miss the obvious mark with this skill in being an entertainer or communicator. Reich has made the tune her own, never beckoning to the declared; she re-thinks the feeling, and the lyric, certainly the arrangement that most will attempt to compare the tune to. But, they will fall short, it’s no longer a Mercer/Mancini composition, Reich has made it her own, allowing us to find the pathos with her that she’s found. Reich is perfect on this work, but that will have to do. She had a vision, followed it through and left us with the gift. If you’re into a good read, have a listen, drink the chapters in and tell someone that you know would love it. A really good read has to be shared.