430

Rebecca Martin: The Growing Season

John Dworkin By

Sign in to view read count
Rebecca Martin: The Growing Season It's been four years since Rebecca Martin last led a record date. In the interim she's given birth to her son Charlie, recorded on a Paul Motian project, and founded a citizen organization dedicated to local projects and government. Luckily for us, she's also taken the time to harvest a fresh batch of beautiful, original songs to enjoy on her CD The Growing Season. It's a strong continuation of her songwriting and fits squarely into her wider creative continuity.

It's also a reunion of sorts. Three members from Martin's 1995 group, Once Blue, work together for the first time since their excellent, and only, recording 13 years ago: Martin, guitarist/writer Kurt Rosenwinkel, and songwriter Jesse Harris. Harris co-wrote only one track with Martin but his contributions are always creatively strong and his presence adds to the project's sense of continuity.

The CD opens with one of its strongest and most accessible songs, "The Space In A Song To Think." It's a perfect example of Martin's knack for writing lines that combine melodic and harmonic sophistication with effortlessly catchy hooks. This hook will catch anything that moves. Martin's warm and easygoing delivery, the relaxed harmonic rhythm, loose bossa-ish feel, soft background vocal harmonies, and Rosenwinkel's mellow Rhodes piano riding the rhythm section, combine to make this tune an equivalent to comfort food: Comfort Music. It creates a space you want to fall into and revel in long past closing time.

Not one to shy away from difficult subjects, The Growing Season takes a somewhat dark turn about halfway through. "As For You, Raba," co-written with Rosenwinkel, concerns an act of violence and a victim's defenselessness. Rosenwinkel's piano introduction creates an appropriately melancholy landscape for Martin to enter into this brutal tale. Yet in her hands, confronting the truth in song is a kind of healing. The subject matter is as rough as anything on P.J. Harvey's terrific, yet ghostly chilling release White Chalk (Island, 2007). Yet somehow Martin comes through as comforting while Harvey is mainly frightening (not a bad thing for either). Following "Raba" are two songs dealing with war and how it separates families and leaves soldiers psychologically damaged when (if) they return home. Martin isn't a folk protest artist per se, but there are shades of that element on this record.

As always, Martin brings a band that is second to none: the ever-evolving Rosenwinkel on guitars, various keyboards, vibraphone, and producing; her husband Larry Grenadier on basses; and rhythm master and all-around musical sensei Brian Blade on drums and percussion. These friends have all traveled in similar musical circles for a long time and the personal rapport shines through the music. They're something of a fellowship you might say.

Martin's poetic lyrics, rich and sweet vocal delivery, and sophisticated songwriting arrangements continue to flow on The Growing Season. Her challenging writing of things worldly, things unseen, beauty, pain, learning, changing, and loving are as artfully rendered here as on any of her past recordings. She is still growing.


Track Listing: The Space In A Song To Think; A Million Miles; Just A Boy; To Prove Them Wrong; What Feels Like Home; Lullaby; As For You, Raba; After Midnight; Make The Days Run Fast; Free At Last; Pieces; Talking; You're Older.

Personnel: Rebecca Martin: vocals, acoustic guitar; Kurt Rosenwinkel: electric guitar, piano, nylon string guitar, keyboards, Fender Rhodes, tack piano, vibraphone; Larry Grenadier: acoustic and electric bass; Brian Blade: drums and percussion.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Cactus" CD/LP/Track Review Cactus
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 24, 2016
Read "It's A Man's World" CD/LP/Track Review It's A Man's World
by Geannine Reid
Published: May 12, 2016
Read "Pale White Shout" CD/LP/Track Review Pale White Shout
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Undertaker Please Drive Slow" CD/LP/Track Review Undertaker Please Drive Slow
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell" CD/LP/Track Review Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!