When you consider places that an emerging traditional country artist might come from Boston rarely comes to mind. Folk artists, blues artists, indie rock bands, sure, but Boston is hardly a country hotbed. Perhaps that's a good thing for Stan Martin. He stands out as one of the most promising traditional country artists to rise out of New England in some time. His fourth studio album, Distilled Influences, is slated for an August 18th release and is sure to garner similar critical acclaim to his three previous efforts.
Distilled Influences marks Martin's return to Twangtone Records and its stripped down production is a modest departure from the 2009 release Love Ain't That Tough. That alone should make Roots and Americana radio programmers salivate over which of the tracks to jump on first.
"This CD has a less is more approach compared to my past albums," Martin adds, "bass, drums, fiddle and guitar; definitely more naked in terms of writing and arrangements and certainly more personal."
The album's title, Distilled Influences, rises from the term Martin uses to describe his sound. "All of my influences are distilled through me," he adds, "it's how I have evolved as an artist finally finding my own voice." Martin will no doubt have to fend off the comparisons to Dwight Yoakam and Chris lssak once again as the press for Distilled Influences starts to pour in but this album may prove different as the songs on Distilled Influences all have a uniquely Stan Martin sound while running through a gamut of traditional country flavorings.
The songs on Distilled Influences range from a hardcore 1960's Johnny Paycheck/Cowboy Jack Clement sound on "Mr. Lonely Me", to a Texas swing influenced "Goodbye Houston", to country blues tinged "You Got Me Singing the Blues" to a flat out 4/4 rockers in " He's Not There with You", "You Let Me Down" and "Should've Been Gone". Martin's influences are in full view, distilled into a vintage sound with a modern label powered by Martin's signature Telecaster twang and driving rhythms from Marc Hickox on bass and Ducky Carlisle on drums.
Martin grew up in the projects of South Boston listening to his mother's Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash albums which inspired the cover art for Distilled Influences. Adding current Haggard fiddler Scott Joss on several of the tracks makes perfect sense, rounding out both the albums sound and its formidable list of players.
Stan Martin might not be there yet but with the release of Distilled Influences he's a few steps closer to kicking open the door to the national recognition he and this album deserve.