Mon, Feb 16, 2015.
Christina Martin is gambling a bit with a new sound on her new album, It'll Be Alright. Mostly known as a singer-songwriter, with an acoustic base, she's made a guitar-heavy, rock and rhythm album. Always known as one of the area's best lyricists, with an ability to get right inside the heart of her characters and listeners, Martin has translated that emotion in a bigger rock sound. Aided, as always, by her producer and husband Dale Murray (Cuff The Duke, The Guthries), the pair have put together a heavier group for this record, and their upcoming shows, starting this week in the Maritimes.
Ringing guitars usher in the title track, and set the scene. Sonically, it's bright and punchy, lots of upfront rhythm guitars, layers of synth and organ, big melodic bass lines, sharp drums and lots of Martin and Murray harmonies. Is it a big leap for her? Not so much, it's still the solid song writing, slices of life, real people's stories, some hurt, some strength that saves others. She's always had pop sensibilities, and really, this is just making the sounds bigger and stronger, letting Murray build things up. Martin has stated she always prefers to make music with a group, and it's a natural move.
For most of her shows over the past several years, Martin has teamed with Murray only, including long jaunts into Europe, months at a time, where she's been building a strong following. Now, the full band (with Brian Murray on drums, Jason Vautour on bass, and John Boudreau at the keys) will hit the road, including another European swing. But home, there are two major shows happening this week. The album comes out officially next Tuesday, Feb. 24, and there are two launch shows, one Thursday in Moncton at The Capitol, and one Saturday in Halifax at The Spatz Theatre. Martin is making them big as well, as she's always want to do a full production on a large stage. The new songs feature the band, visual elements, set designs, audio effects, in all a special event show. Is bigger better? It sounds like it with Martin.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).