Saint Mad
Gig Seeker Pro

Saint Mad

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""A very tasteful and warm-hearted album""

Saint Mad are a four piece band from Philadelphia, USA. Their unique selling point lies in their instrumentation. Jim Harris plays guitar and bass, Martha Michael plays trumpet and harmonica, Molly Mahoney is on keyboards and Lynda Chen plays euphonium. The band has released their debut CD “Waiting to Start” produced by Daoud Shaw who also performs percussion on various tracks.
The CD starts with an upbeat ditty “Can’t Let Go”. This track has it all: lush layered vocal harmonies and intricate but understated brass lines that interplay with each other. Add in some rock and roll piano for the solo and it all adds up to be the perfect track to launch the disk. The second track follows this up with “I See Myself in You” which is a beautifully laid back and slightly melancholic piece. It features a rather excellent Trumpet solo from Martha Michael. Jim Harris’ voice is mature, a little shaky – but that’s a good thing as it shows a little vulnerability. Perfect for this song! The third song “God Gives You What You Need” has some amazing percussion work, delicately placed in the mix – to support the melodies and carry the tune along. The band are giving away their Christian beliefs but what I like about it, is that they are not preaching, just affirming their faith. The fourth song “Live” is a wonderful with a latin jazz feel to it.
My favourite track has to be “O Sweet Spontaneous” as this is a definite stand out track of the twelve numbers. According to the bands website Martha wrote most of the music, set to a poem by E.E. Cummings. The harmonies here are exquisite and the vocal textures superb. Even the backing has an incredible laid back jazz funk groove and the scale runs and muted trumpet rounds it all off nicely. Then the Hammond organ comes in to try and steal the show. This is so cool! The rest of the CD continues with strong song after strong song and includes very tasteful covers of the Beatle’s “Across the Universe” and Arlen & Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow”
The vocal harmonies, though carefully thought out are sometimes out of sync with each other and there are also occasional pitching problems with Jim’s vocals, mainly when he stretches himself. For example on “Not for a long time” – this is perhaps more apparent due to the stripped back arrangement. I felt that his voice would also benefit from a little digital reverb especially in the more sparse arrangements. This genre is also quite a niche market – but hats off to them for just doing what they love – making music.
Overall this is a very tasteful and warm-hearted album from Saint Mad. Each song is well crafted, and has a lot of variety. The strong suit of this band is the vocal melodies and carefully arranged harmonies, but it’s the trumpet and euphonium that provide for the bands unique selling point. It’s just the icing on the cake. The colours and textures on this CD provide for an excellent feel-good vibe and I cant help but think that if they build on the strengths of this recording their next offering could be totally outstanding! A look around their website tells you that they don’t take themselves too seriously and they are a fun band to listen to – no doubt a blast to see live. I’m due another visit to the States and Philadelphia is one of my favourite places to stay, hopefully I will catch them at a live show…who knows? I hope so. - Rock n Roll View

""The band is highly likeable and smart""

Overall this American band creates pleasant pop, heavy on brass.  Their songs tend to be cheery, positive and bright.  "Can't Let Go" is friendly, with good vocal harmonies.  Like most of the songs, it is very unique and shows a high level of musicianship.  The band is highly likeable and smart.  On the cover of the CD, on a sign behind the band, it states the phrase "Never too late to chase your dreams".  Right on!  "I See Myself In You" reminds me of Brian Wilson- it is very down-to-earth and amicable.  The horns do sometimes bring to mind the classic days of Chicago, and there is indeed a nod to classic rock on many of the tracks (they even do a fine cover of The Beatles' "Across The Universe" and the old favorite "Over The Rainbow").  This music is easy listening at its finest.  It is relaxed, informal and sweet.  There is no posturing or pretending on this CD- the songs are real, sincere and human.  This is pure music with heart.
Grade: 8.5/10 - NightWaves

""Creating their own little world in the musical landscape""

Saint Mad
Waiting to Start
Saint Mad is all about the music. They didn’t get into music for the fashion or the commissary backstage at the big shows. Looking at the picture on the front of their album Waiting To Start, you can get the feeling that you’re not going to be hearing a lot of Kiss covers. I’m just judging that on the lack of make-up and the lack of spitting blood and fire. What you do get is a unique blend of…well…of folk, pop, and jazz. It’s a blend that I can honestly say I’ve never heard before. It’s not every day that you get a blend of guitars, trumpets, piano, and something called a euphonium that up until 4 minutes ago I would have sworn was something I missed in English class in high school. A euphonium is a conical-bore, tenor-voiced brass instrument but you knew that, didn’t you. They use it where the bass guitar would normally be and it creates an interesting sound.

This blend of acoustic pop they put together is not bad. It is very unique and I can’t quite grasp it but it’s not because it’s not good. It’s just out of its time a bit. This easy going pop blend isn’t likely to bump the latest young starlet off the charts but it might be nice to listen to on a Sunday morning. They are brilliant musicians as they start of the album with the up-tempo pop diddy “Can’t Let Go”. It’s a great song that doesn’t slow down and will leave you feeling a little better if you were feeling a little bad. There is a touch of spirituality in this music as you listen to tracks like “God Gives You What You Need”, “Live”, and “Wish”. They pull of an interesting version of The Beatles “Across the Universe” that seems to work….kind of. The vocals of Jim Harris are possibly an acquired taste and would seem to be more at home in front of a camp fire singing traditional folk songs. The harmonies they put together are good and seem to have something on every octave to provide nice depth.

All in all, the album is pleasing but is definitely geared to an older acoustic pop loving crowd that will enjoy the whimsical nature of their music. I cannot for a second doubt their collective talents as they are way above the bar in that category and I have to applaud them for doing what they want to and creating their own little world in the musical landscape.

Key Tracks-Can’t Let Go, Live, Canyon Song

Doug Morrissey- Staff

December 12, 2010

© -

""All the songs are incredible""

I recently checked out the latest CD from Philadelphia's own Saint Mad, entitled Waiting to Start.

The band: Standard 4 piece line-up which includes Jim Harris (guitar, vocals) Martha Michael (Trumpet, Harmonica) Molly Mahoney (Keyboard) Lynda Chen (Euphonium), & Daoud Shaw (guest percussionist). I would say the band possesses above average to advanced playing abilities You will find many amazing vocal harmonies along the way. Timing is spot on within the genera. Harris can hold his own on the guitar & vocals, but more importantly he just let's it all hang out - holding nothing back. Vocals from Harris are executed perfectly, & in many ways the strongpoint part of the production. The music possesses a classic Jazz, Bluesy, Rockabilly, Folk-ish type stigma. All in all great music to eat a Sunday morning brunch to. Definitely classic Americana feel that that is timeless & very emotional Music will remind you of classic Jimmy Buffet, with a touch of Dr. John, & Joe Cocker. The songs Simply put - all songs are incredible. There’s nothing like a solid musical production to get wrapped around – & this is one of them. I kept waiting for a weak song to come down the pike - I eventually gave up on that. The vibe Overall very upbeat, positive, with amazing vibe. I get the impression these folks are having alot of fun with it - & it shows. The production is professional grade from start to finish. There's not many songs you can listen to time & time again. Has a timeless feel to it. which is not an easy thing to achieve. Overall this CD is very marketable, upbeat & sucks you in right away. The good Honorable mentions go out to the amazing "good vibe" you get. Like a drug this CD pulls you in & when it's over you want to do it all over again. The CD brightened my day & told me to lighten up a little & have a drink. For the record this CD will not go in the stack of other CD’s I’ve reviewed, instead it’s going in my truck. Folks out there who enjoy all the above mentioned bands will fall head over heels over Saint Mad. All flower children are welcome. The bad CD is a bit short. Don't really care for the cover songs. I wish Saint Mad would have just put 3 or 4 more songs on this CD. The ugly Nothing to report.

The verdict Waiting to Start by Saint Mad has everything: good playing, fancy picking, fun songs, amazing harmonies, & music that covers all the bases – Jazz, Folk, Rag Time, R&B, Americana & even Rock. The Bottom Line WARNING - If you listen to this CD – you run the risk of not leaving the party on time, & realizing how fun life can truly be.

Markus Druery
Indieshark Music Critic -

""Saint Mad lets it all hang out""

Philadelphia's own Saint Mad released it's debut CD, “Waiting to Start,” in the Spring of 2010.
Logging in at just over 40 minutes, the CD kicks things off with “Can't Let Go” an upbeat intro piece that serves up driving rhythms, up-beat vocal melodies accompanied by inviting horns & full tilt parlor piano.
Track 2 “I see Myself In You” shifts gears a bit with French Café style instrumentation, against this soothing acoustic ballad that is sincere as much as it is genuine. Track 3 “God Gives You What You Need”' delivers well placed vocal harmonies from Harris & Co. with nice percussive accents & earthy type feel, making for a nice folk type ditty.

As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice a lot of musical variety from Harris & Co. First the music itself has a lot of vocal originality, & possesses a very carefree & uplifting spirit & persona. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation & lush layers of instrumentation. I would classify this music as Poppy, Folk Jazz with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies & melodic reinforcement. Besides the standard 4-piece delivery you will also notice brief splashes of percussion, piano, gong, harmonica, & saxophone layered within the music. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing musical influences of the likes of classic Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Buffet, & do I dare say Peter Paul & Mary.

Harris's vocal abilities work well across the board possessing a vocal swagger reminiscent of Bob Dorough (Schoolhouse Rock), Jimmy Buffet, Dr. John, with just s splash of Joe Cocker. As for the other members (3 females) they continuously deliver confident vocal abilities indicating a confident vocal ability. I would wager this band probably sung choir in High School. From upbeat pieces "What else Is Kindness” & “Canyon Song” to Jazzy "Wistful" to pieces that deliver rich conventional wisdom that simply can't be faked like on "Live" this CD pretty much has it all.

From my personal favorite "O Sweet Spontaneous" to cover songs "Across The Universe" & "Over the Rainbow" I can honestly say this CD doesn't have too many weak moments on it. The CD ends with “Wish” a nice wrap, with lyrics that go “Why should I care if no one writes on my grave, here lies a person who always behaved, cuz' no one is safe by not making waves, despite how we try to pretend.” Nice touch there!!
Removing the 2 cover songs this musical production logs just over 33 minutes - a bit short. I wish there were say 2 to 3 more original songs just to add to the catalogue. “I See Myself in You” feels like it ends way to quickly. I love the horn section but geez it seems like it's always in your face around every corner, in every song.

In close Saint Mad is just a blast to listen to. Strong musical production from start to finish. The music is highly original, extremely melodic, and it will lift your spirits without even trying. As the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with this 4 piece. Because of the influences, I would say the flower children out there will love this one. My hat's off to Daoud Shaw for not only playing percussion on the CD, but also adding his producers touch to the presentation.

The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly, the writing, and singing abilities of Saint Mad are about as good as it gets for this genre. Like an evil saint, Saint Mad let's it all hang out, delivering music that is as much fun as it is entertaining, & unpredictable. I look forward to hearing more material from Saint Mad in the future.
Cyrus Rhodes -

""Music that breaks the mold.""

Philadelphia quartet Saint Mad are veteran performers with a very unique approach to music. Formed in 2005, Saint Mad blends pop, R&B, folk, jazz, gospel and classical in very eclectic ways, morphing themselves from one song to the next using instruments such as guitar, trumpet, harmonica, bass, organ, piano and euphonium. While these instruments craft a distinct and highly developed aural canvas, Saint Mad's voices intertwine over the top to create moments that run from the theatrical to the divine. With songs built around positive thought constructs from self-sufficiency to faith in God, Saint Mad has something for everyone on their latest album, Waiting To Start.

Saint Mad opens with "Can't Let Go", exploring the argument between faith and self doubt. Catchy and fun with some tremendous piano work throughout, the song shows a highly original and creative approach to telling a story that's theatrical without being over-the-top. "I See Myself In You" is a pleasant transition into "God Gives You What You Need", a quasi-liturgical bit of folk/pop that plays on the theme that God never gives you a challenge you can't handle. The sound here is gorgeous and the songwriting top notch. "Live" is an admonition to make the most of your life and take care of those who have less. Fear is cast as something others have already faced and therefore not something to stop you in this gentle calypso.

Saint Mad makes light of the concept that distant planets and stars control our destiny in "Not For A Long Time". Revolving around the recent "near pass" between the Earth and Mars, the song acknowledges the beauty of heavenly bodies while emphasizing the small "h" between the lines. "O Sweet Spontaneous" is a song about the regenerative, almost magical power of life; a celebration of creation and all around us. Saint Mad takes this spirit into the light jazz instrumental "Wistful", a pleasant diversion that sets up the band for the final stretch. "What Else Is Kindness For" is a parable in song. This hip take on the gospel sound boils the spiritual message of taking care of each other and boils it down into simple terms without making an issue out of religion. While the message here is decidedly Judeo-Christian, Saint Mad make it more about supply and demand while emphasizing the abundance of kindness we are given and asking why not share it? Saint Mad makes the most of John Lennon's "Across The Universe" in a touching rendition full of spirit and panache. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" takes up the same mantle, and impresses with strong vocal harmonies around a competent lead. "Wish" brings Saint Mad full circle, delving into the internal dialogue of a person who strives for a better way but is prone to their own deep imperfections. The song is very well done; given without judgment or any sense of proselytization; allowing the dialogue to speak for itself in near-Socratic fashion.

Saint Mad infuse faith and belief into their music on Waiting To Start, informing stories of human conditions with the light of positive thinking and hope. The purpose here seems not so much to preach as to uplift; like a philosopher shedding light into the darker places we visit in day-to-day life. Musically Saint Mad is something else. The instrumental and vocal mixes here are astounding at times, perhaps truly earning the moniker "post-genre" in a way most bands only dream of. Saint Mad seems likely to draw more heavily from the over-forty crowd, but anyone with a deep appreciation of music that breaks the mold will find something to charm them on Waiting To Start.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

- Wildy's World

""Quirky, yet mainstream""

I’m not sure if you can be quirky and yet mainstream at the same time but that is the trick that Saint Mad have pulled off with their album “Waiting To Start”. Maybe it is something in the water in Philadelphia?
Let’s talk about being mainstream now. There are songs here that would easily fit into the soundtrack of Disney’s latest cartoon blockbuster with “I See Myself in You” fitting the bill as the love duet between two talking – or should that singing? – fish. Nothing wrong with being wholesome, of course, but there is a subtle undercurrent of subversion to consider.  That’s the kind of thing that Randy Newman did well and the songs on this album likewise reward reinspection. “God Gives You Want”, as an example, skilfully mixes the wry and the wholesome and “Wish” is practically a homage to Mr Newman.  In a welcome move, Saint Mad don’t follow the same path throughout and the neo jazz cool of ““O Sweet Spontaneous” makes for a particularly welcome diversion.
Credit has also to be given to the standard of musicianship displayed here. I am sucker for horns so I would be happy anyway but the neatly understated performances of all involved impress (with Martha Michael’s vocals warming my heart most…). You can tell that they aren’t beginners.

Review by:   Bluesbunny
Rating 4 out of 5 carrots -


Our first album of originals is called "Waiting to Start," and tracks can be heard at as well as on iTunes and Amazon

Songs from the CD have been played on WXPN here in Philly, and on a number of independent radio shows and podcasts in the U.S. and Europe. The album's theme is, "It's never too late to chase your dreams," and every song has something to say on the subject.

Each cut is unique in style, but we hope that anyone who still has a pulse and a dream will find them all inspiring, motivating, and fun.

We also released an a capella singe, an original called "To The Earth" available on iTunes and Amazon.

We recorded a tribute to the Philadelphia Phillies, "Four" which received a lot of airplay. it can be seen & heard on our Youtiube page (below).



We’ve all spent decades learning and playing other people’s music. Now we’re playing our own. Our musical backgrounds include rock, R&B, jazz, choral, and even show-tunes. We met in a church choir and began writing and playing together as a band in 2005. We're not only band-mates, but best friends as well.

We have been compared to Joni Mitchell, Dr. Hook, Jimmy Buffet, Manhattan Transfer, and Randy Newman, to name a few. We consider our strongest influence to be the songs of the Beatles.

Since july 2009, we've been doing a monthly first-Friday gig at Crossroads Coffeehouse in Philly. Every month is a brand new, themed show, consisting of originals and new covers. The combination of heartfelt songs, parodies, humor, and an easy rapport with the audience has put First Fridays with Saint Mad on the calendars of a growing number of faithful fans in Philadelphia.

Since we've been saving stuff up all our lives, we've got a ton of material just waiting to be recorded. Presently, we're working on making some videos for our current recorded repertoire, and are looking forward to making our next CD, which will be a high-concept album about the experiences of the baby boomer generation. Stay tuned!

Reviews of our CD, "Waiting To Start"
• "Moments that run from the theatrical to the divine" – Wildy's World
• "Upbeat, postive, incredible vibe" – IndieShark
• "Waiting To Start," "CD of the Week" – Indie Music Digest.
• "This is pure music with heart" – NightWaves Website
• "You can tell that they aren’t beginners" – BluesBunny
• "Their collective talents are way above the bar" – MuziKReviews
• "An excellent, feel-good vibe" – Rock n Roll View