Martha Redbone Roots Project
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Martha Redbone Roots Project

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Band Americana Folk

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""a thick, satisfying stew of twangy Americana and chugging harmonies sent soaring by Martha Redbone’s earthy, gospel-infused vocals.""

Peter Chianca, GATEHOUSE NEWS -"You probably think you know whether or not you’re the type who’d appreciate a whole album of William Blake poems set to Appalachian roots music – but if you’re already saying “Meh, not for me,” you also may be wrong. At least if the album in question is “The Garden of Love,” a thick, satisfying stew of twangy Americana and chugging harmonies sent soaring by Martha Redbone’s earthy, gospel-infused vocals.

Redbone has got charisma and sincerity to spare, and clearly feels Blake’s poetry in her skin and bones, from its naturalistic splendor to its melancholic but ultimately celebratory take on the human experience. In fact, the only track that seems extraneous is “Why Should I Care for the Men of Thames,” with Blake’s poetry recited by John Spottiswoode – by that point Redbone herself has more than made the verse come to vibrant life"

MUST HAVE: “I Rose Up At the Dawn of Day,” a gospel stomper - Peter Chianca, Gatehouse News


"" I’m truly floored by the talent behind it, and the enchanting grace that pervades every note.You simply must get this album. ”"

Brent Fleury, THE BOLD- “Redbone’s unique concept is chillingly beautiful. The incorporation of truly American instruments from many cultures is seamless, and with Redbone’s tremendously lush and powerful voice driving these haunting poems, she paints a vivid landscape of Appalachia, as if the trees, rivers and mountains were all singing with one, aching, all-knowing voice. Produced by Grammy-Award winning John McEuen, this is such a thorough, thoughtful and heartfelt album, I’m truly floored by the talent behind it, and the enchanting grace that pervades every note. You simply must get this album. ” Brent Fleury, The Bold - Boldlife.com


"No. 1 in The Best Albums of 2012! “Brilliant fusion of Americana and Britannia.”"

TED GIOIA - No. 1 in The Best Albums of 2012! “Brilliant fusion of Americana and Britannia.” Musician & Author Ted Gioia - Ted Gioia


""For music lovers, discovering hidden gems like this album is the equivalent of finding a winning lottery ticket on the street.”"

Sam Gazdziak, COUNTRY UNIVERSE.NET - The combination of a modern soul singer, an 18th-century Romantic poet and bluegrass music shouldn’t work, at least on paper. However, when there are talented people like Martha Redbone and John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band involved, the results can be fantastic. Redbone and collaborator Aaron Whitby drew from the works of William Blake and McEuen and a host of talented musicians helped recast the poems as bluegrass songs. The resulting songs sound more like Harlan County than Blake’s native London, and Redbone’s vocals are gorgeous throughout. For music lovers, discovering hidden gems like this album is the equivalent of finding a winning lottery ticket on the street.” - Sam Gazdziak Country Universe’s Top Albums of 2012 - Sam Gazdziak, Country Universe.net


""a gorgeous mélange of sounds, influences, and textures that represents the numerous influences found in American folk and roots music.”"

Juli Thanki, ENGINE 145 - "a gorgeous mélange of sounds, influences, and textures that represents not only Redbone’s multicultural heritage, but also the numerous influences found in American folk and roots music.” Juli Thanki, Engine 145 - Juli Thanki, Engine 145


"“….one of those wonderful meetings of minds and culture that comes along once in a while that literally takes your breath away.”"

Richard Marcus, BLOGCRITICS - “….one of those wonderful meetings of minds and culture that comes along once in a while that literally takes your breath away.” - Richard Marcus, Blogcritics


""Any appreciator of good Appalachian blues needs to run out and buy a copy""

Chris Griffy, THE EXAMINER - “The album’s title song, “Garden of Love,” is a masterful introduction to the project, kicking off with a searing acoustic blues lick leading into Redbone’s powerful voice. Here McEuen’s production skills shine as he perfectly swells the music up slowly behind Redbone’s vocals before kicking the band into full gear. It’s the biggest high note on an album that is chock full of them….Whether you’re a fan of William Blake or a guy who barely scraped through Lit 101, any appreciator of good Appalachian blues needs to run out and buy a copy of Martha Redbone’s “Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake.” It is a rare album that works on all level, appealing to the literary mind, the audiophile, and the person who just wants to sit back and listen to something soothing to wind down from a busy day.” Chris Griffy, Examiner - Chris Griffy, The Examiner (Nashville USA)


""You can’t ask much more than to have your music served up raw, rootsy and full of such emotional depth.”"

Joe Ross, ROOTS MUSIC REPORT - 5 STAR review! “‘The Garden of Love’ has pleasing radiance. You can’t ask much more than to have your music served up raw, rootsy and full of such emotional depth.” - Joe Ross, Roots Music Report


""masterful and courageous""

Tim Merricks, AMERICANAUK.COM - “The manner in which Martha Redbone has stamped her own personality all over Blake’s work is both masterful and courageous and should really make her name synonymous with the old cockney proponent of the American Revolution for as long as people make music and read poetry.” Tim Merricks, Americana UK - Tim Merricks, AmericanaUK.com


"“masterfully crafted and performed with near perfection""

Dan Harr, MUSIC NEWS NASHVILLE - “The Garden of Love is a 12-track CD filled with moving songs that are masterfully crafted and performed with near perfection. I really don’t want to sound like I’m gushing, but I’ll be danged if I’m not into my fourth listen from start to finish as I’m writing this review.” - Dan Harr, Music News Nashville


"“a delightful surprise….Terrific album.”"

Robert Siegel, NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED - “A delightful surprise….Terrific album.” - Robert Siegel, NPR's All Things Considered


"“An organic, gorgeous feast for ears and minds.”"

Dusty Wright, HUFFINGTON POST - Best Rock Music of October
"Martha Redbone Roots Project The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake (Blackfeet) -- Her third album, Native American/African-American Ms. Redbone considers this her "sonic rebirth" record. Setting the 18th century UK poet William Blake's poetry to music hardly seems like accessible fare, but boy is it ever. Rootsy, Americana music lovingly produced by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member John McEuen with help from bassist Byron House and world music guru David Amram, it's an organic, gorgeous feast for ears and minds. - Dusty Wright, Huffington Post


""Martha Redbone’s music chronicles the crossroads of the American experience""

Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR - “Martha Redbone’s music chronicles the crossroads of the American experience. Born in Kentucky and of Cherokee, Choctaw and African-American descent, Redbone combines folk, Appalachian, soul and Native tradition in a group of settings of poetry by William Blake — a startling idea, perhaps, but one that brims with potency and freshness.” Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR - Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR


""A truly hypnotic and eloquent roots Americana exploration,""

Jonathan Widran, ALL MUSIC - “A truly hypnotic and eloquent roots Americana exploration, The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake beautifully and unexpectedly matches two powerful voices, two centuries, continents, and cultures apart. The mastermind is Martha Redbone, an Independent Music Award winner renowned for blending Native American vibes from her Cherokee and Choctaw background with R&B grooves, blues, and dashes of Appalachian folk.” - Jonathan Widran, ALL MUSIC


""A brilliant collision of cultures""

THE NEW YORKER - “In a brilliant collision of cultures, the powerful blues and soul singer Martha Redbone has recorded an album called “The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake,” which was produced by John McEuen, of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In it, the mystical, humanistic words of the eighteenth-century English poet are fused with the melodies, drones, and rhythms of the Appalachian string-band music that Redbone absorbed as a child from her grandparents, in Black Mountain, Kentucky.” - The New Yorker


Discography

Martha Redbone Roots Project
LP: The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake
Radio Airplay:
The Garden of Love
Hear the Voice of the Bard
On Anothers Sorrow
I Rose Up at the Dawn of Day

Photos

Bio

THE GARDEN OF LOVE: MARTHA REDBONE’S EXPRESSION OF ETERNAL DELIGHT
The Garden Of Love – The Songs of William Blake is not the debut album of singer/songwriter/producer Martha Redbone, yet it embodies a sonic rebirth and fuller flowering of her own rootsy ethos. In the Martha Redbone Roots Project warm, woodsy melodies take flight through the fusion of largely prewar string-band instrumentation and her heart-worn mountain holler, as Sister Martha redbone tells tales of eternal humanitarian values through music distilled in the Southland since before America was founded.
Miss Redbone’s music flows equally from her own unique, award-winning blend of Native American elements with soul and funk and her deep roots in Appalachian folk and Piedmont blues favored by the matriarchy that raised her on a rich sojourn from Clinch Mountain, Virginia to Harlan County, Kentucky and beyond to Brooklyn’s Dodge City-esque mean streets. Indeed, Garden Of Love seamlessly evokes the mid-20th century old timey gold rush when such artists as her fellow Kentuckians Jim Ford and Jackie DeShannon fearlessly infused their downhome blues between canyon air ballets and retronuevo cabinessence – before their followers developed newgrass and Redbone’s twangy forebears Buffy Sainte-Marie and Rita Coolidge brought Indigenous concerns to the rock & roll arena in the 1970s. Yet don’t call this project bluegrass or the purists might have a fit.
It may come as a surprise to some that Redbone, a junior Funkadelic, indie soul pioneer and a woman noted for purveying the wilder shores of rhythm & blues on prior releases Home Of the Brave and Skintalk, recorded her new album in the fabled center of country music, Nashville. Yet, proudly retracing the path of her uniquely American mixed heritage back to its earliest source, she is merely taking the inevitable next step of a maverick artist who has never been chained by borders. Americana is her natural homecoming, sonic and otherwise.
The album, produced by Grammy-winning Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder John McEuen whose recent work includes Steve Martin’s “The Crow”, and written with her British composer husband Aaron Whitby, drafts in a stellar supporting cast that allowed Martha to focus on vocals and deep communion with the spirits of her ancestors, composer David Amram, cult troubadour Jonathan Spottiswoode and studio veterans Byron House on upright bass and Mark Casstevens on guitar. Reverence and righteous joy from sacred music animate songs like the title track “The Garden of Love”, the glorious “I Rose Up at Dawn of Day,” and haunting “A Dream,” driven by lyrical content from the brilliant mind of Romantic visionary William Blake whose credo ‘Energy is Eternal Delight’ is fiercely reinterpreted for Appalachia. The album resonates with the influence of Redbone’s southeastern raisin’, echoing an earlier time/space through elements of folk, country gospel, stomp chants, and the high lonesome of a front porch Sunday pickin’.
The couple crafted The Garden of Love between touring, producing albums at their Brooklyn studio, an ongoing foray into banjo fascination, activism, and the never-ending daily joys of raising a young son during 2011; but the album attains the heights of an imperishable artifact, due to the acute losses of her mother, aunt and other trials amidst the writing and recording process. And so, for a concept that gestated over five years, the album is still right on time – as revision of the artist’s complex American heritage, as loving messages to her child heir to these roots, and a balm for audiences hungering for truth and higher meaning in these turbulent days of 2012.
In the arc of Martha Redbone’s aesthetic journey, Garden Of Love represents the simultaneous retrenchment and innovation so respected in those seminal works of fellow Cosmic Americana pioneers The Byrds via Sweetheart of the Rodeo and The Band on their first two long-players, and it deserves to enter that oh-so hallowed high-tech holler. This here is thoroughly modern music but imbued with rural truth and a slowed roll that has provided sustenance to plainfolks since time immemorial. C’mon, brothers and sisters, and get yourselves back to some semblance of The Garden. -Kandia Crazy Horse