Southern White Lies
Our Favourite Franco-Texan Goes Back To Her Roots With Style And Passion.
Thankfully Martha Fields has been in regular contact with the Rocking Magpie since the release of her previous album Long Way From Home; under a completely different guise Texas Martha and the House of Twang; or else I would never have guessed this was by the same artist.
While that album was a veritable Twangfest; straight from the Jukebox in the coolest Honky Tonk in Countryville; Martha or Marty to her friends; has de-Twanged her sound and dug deep into her Texas Roots; and not through rose coloured glasses…that’s for sure.
A delightful acoustic guitar and fiddle open the first track Soul on the Move before Martha’s world weary and lived in voice oozes out of the speaker like maple syrup laced with moonshine.
The song itself is very deep works on many levels; be you a musician, a teenager on a gap year or someone just getting older and missing their youth.
Songs like this are the reason I always choose the opening track to begin my reviews; it pretty much tells you what to expect; but in this instance Marty has set the benchmark very high for herself….can she keep up the quality?
Of course she can!
Next out of the blocks is Dead End and it’s as dark as Southern Gothic writing gets; and at times had me gripping the arm rest on my seat; all you need to know that the chorus goes along the lines of “I should hate you but I don’t/I should hate you but I won’t!”
I won’t do a ‘song by song’ appraisal fore all that’s tempting; but I will give you the absolute highlights; Hard Times is one of the few up-tempo songs here and one of the finest, with Marty singing about a battered wife; and with a title like that it’s not a fun sing-song even if it is to a danceable tune. It’s just occurred to me that it’s a song that Loretta Lynn would be proud of.
The thread of Lonesome Road Blues goes back to that opening track; but this time Marty virtually spits out the lyrics with a red hot banjo picking away in the background alongside a tub thumping rhythm section in the shadows.
On many other albums this would be my favourite track; but it barely makes the Top 5 here!
Not for the first time the title of ‘Favourite Song’ is a tie; but this time between THREE SONGS!
The saddest song on a very sad album is What Good Can Drinking Do? While most of us like a drink; this is a tale of a woman whose weekend begins on Thursday and doesn’t stop until there’s no money or drink left. Martha’s descriptive way with words is quite remarkable at times; and you too will be able to picture this ‘good time girl having a good time.’ #SadFace
Yet again you can listen to Do As You Are Told on many levels; as this story of a feisty woman trying to live an independent life; but struggles her whole life.
“Do as you are told girl/Thinking’s men’s business/Do as you are told/If you want to live a long life/Don’t be so bold;’ is timeless and all too lamentably still running true today in 2016.
The joint winner is the title track Southern White Lies and; well it’s stunning look at her Texas homeland through the eyes of someone who no longer lives there and can see through the cracks. It’s a song so powerful in it’s observations many people will actually hate it; but they will either be tourists or the people born with a ‘silver spoon;’ but I’m pretty sure that the people at the bottom or even middle of the pile will recognise many things here; and will thank Marty for opening the wound.
For what it’s worth I think the song will resonate with people all over the USA in the run up to the Election; and also people in a similar position around the globe.
I listen to a lot of music; too much at times and it’s becoming increasingly rare for me to keep coming back to an album, to listen to for pleasure….if that’s what I can call it; but that’s one of the reasons I missed the original release date; I was too busy listening to the music.
Release August 19th 2016