"Franklin-based singer/songwriter Angela Faye Martin's One Dark Vine falls into this do-it-yourself ethic nicely. The production is sparse with many songs using only violin or Hammond organ to accompany Martin's vocals and acoustic guitar. Most of it was recorded in her home. There are no drums, but the way she plays the guitar adds a percussive drive to all of the tunes, demonstrated clearly in the intro to "Cassiopeia" and the verse of "Wicked Girl." The CD packaging looks good and maintains the "homegrown" quality, right down to the vine doodles on the foldout and CD tray insert.
When it comes to stylistic similarities, things get tricky - cliches come flying out of nowhere. The sudden jumps into falsetto on "Cassiopeia" certainly call to mind Joni Mitchell, but overall the super quirky delivery of Victoria Williams, or some of the roughness (in a good way) of Lucinda Williams' vocals are points of reference. Oleg Melnikov's violin adds a Southern Gothic quality to the bridge of "Cassiopeia." Producer and engineer Michael Youngwood adds a B3 melody to the chorus of "Twenty White Flowers," which made me think of Yo La Tengo and The Who simultaneously. That almost never happens.
One of Martin's primary strengths is her lyricism. There's a haziness and playful quality to the imagery, as in "Mary Shelley's Hair," where she ponders whether Shelley would "buy a blue Stratocaster or would she have a son." The songs also are full of historical, literary, geographical or off-the-wall references to anyone from Faulkner to Dickinson to botanist William Bartram.
The term "Southern Gothic" comes up again in Martin's indirect descriptions of life (or the lack thereof) and people in small Southern towns, as well as the feeling of being a "transplant" and trying to find a place to fit. Whether these feelings are purely character viewpoints or personal we may never know, but it keeps the listener on his toes. I'd recommend having Google fired up while listening to One Dark Vine. Really, did you ever think about how creepy the lyrics to the children's song "Clementine" really are?
Martin has delivered a smart, thoughtful piece of singer/songwriter work in One Dark Vine, one that rides on the strengths of its content and depth, rather than gloss and flash." - Chris Cooper, Smoky Mountain News, 2005
"Angela Faye Martin's voice with its earthy tones and varied pitch, draws me in as she sings of travel, sadness, and hope. . . Listening to ONE DARK VINE for the first time, I was struck by it's wintry feel and almost eerie, classical sound." - Jessica Richardson, Macon Co. News, Franklin, NC