Review by John Porter
Donna Martin '" Ghost
Sometimes I wonder what draws me into a recording and makes me care. Is it the lyric? The way it’s presented? Is it the music? The way it’s woven around those words? I know in this case it’s a mix of all of the above.
Martin wrote all but one of the 12 songs here by herself. The one co-write was with Jim Chapdelaine, who also provides tasteful accompaniment on baritone guitar, cymbals, drum loops, electric guitar, E-bow, fretless bass, and slide guitar '" whichever and wherever needed. Donna handles the acoustic guitar, electric tremolo, and vocal duties herself. Jon Peckman joins in on drums and percussion.
Martin’s writing and her singing is wistful and personal. A singer-songwriter whose stories are colored by powers of observation and the frames she puts around them. The album features two solo acoustic guitar pieces. During both I found myself missing her voice and still hearing it at the same time.
Yep, all of the above.
February 12, 2000
by Ed McKeon
Review: Donna Martin '" Ghost
Donna Martin’s ability to write strong, beautiful, stirring songs continues to grow as her new album handily demonstrates.
“Ghost” showcases Martin’s expressive voice and thoughtful compositions in a new light.
Aiming for an album with songs that were “simple and airy,” she’s created a template for singer-songwriters who want high production values that don’t disguise the raw beauty of a song.
With able help from guitarist/producer Jim Chapdelaine and drummer Jon Peckman (who drummed on everything from his knees to a cardboard box), Martin delivers an entire album with a very clear signature.
She’s discovered a style that suits her well. Without a single up-tempo number, she explores the range of human emotion with grace, intellect and wit. And the pace doesn’t wear on you once. She finds plenty of ghosts.
Whether it’s punk rocker Wendy O. Williams or the nameless spirit who haunts a big city high rise, or the shadow of JFK junior (“Famous Face”), Martin’s songs are populated by the specters of lost chances, technological horror and shared reminiscence.
She sings of a kind of small town hero who keeps the home fires burning warmly, and the frightened do-gooder who is afraid to leave her room. She sings about enduring love and broken hearts. She sings about people you and I know. Sturdy, rich, lovely songs. Beautiful songs.
This is the kind of album you’ll buy for a friend, who will buy it for another. And maybe together we’ll create the kind of audience for Martin that radio has forgotten how to create.