Real Deal Americana With Added Gallic Flair.
Can it really be two whole years since Martha Fields last release SOUTHERN WHITE LIES? Where does the time go?
Before I talk about the actual songs here; can I mention that I’ve been listening to this album on and off for a couple of weeks now, but I’m writing the review in the aftermath of the Americana Awards 2018; and I’m confused as to what constitutes ‘Americana’ music these days; as Martha Fields is the corner stone of what I think of as Americana Music; but she doesn’t sound like many of the those recipients last night (Jason Isbell excluded!)
Opening track Sukey is a sultry and even swampy slice of ‘Americana’ and certainly sounds like it has its roots in Martha’s Southern White Lies album;as does the Gothic sounding Demona which follows on down the line, with both having more edge than a Bowie knife.
I’ve been a fan for a few years now; and love the way Ms Fields uses her smoky voice to tell a tale; almost inhabiting her characters in Forbidden Fruit and the bubbly Fare Thee Well Blues; yet also becoming the third party storyteller on Maxine; which has more than a smidgen of Bobbie Gentry in it by the way.
Fans will already know Martha is based in rural France now; which makes her songs Oklahoma and West Virginia In My Bones all the more wistful; and the gentle Paris to Austin somehow manages to tug at the listeners heartstrings with both hands until you can hardly breathe. Exile; when you listen carefully has a slight socio-political backbone to it; and yet written from afar will resonate with how many Americans feel about the country that they live in.
Perhaps it is because she no longer lives in the US of A that these songs have a romantic thread to them; which can be missing on some home grown albums……absence makes the heart grow fonder?
I can’t help mentioning too, that the band are all born and bred French men; which makes their collective delicate touches and flourishes on Said And Done, Desert Flower and the majestic Lone Wolf Waltz all the more intriguing; but then again…….Americana is really a state of mind, in my opinion.
With so much to choose from I was going to close my eyes and just point my finger at the track listing to select a favourite; then the rip snorting Hillbilly Bop came sizzling out of the office speakers and the deal was done. What’s not to like about a hummable and danceable tune that’s a lot more ‘Country’ than most anything you will hear on your Nashville radio these day, y’all.
Sadly Martha Fields will most likely not be attending any Awards Galas in the near future; but then again nor will 99.9% of the acts we cover here at RMHQ; so just sit back and enjoy; knowing you know something the other kids don’t; Marty Fields is the Real Deal.
Released September 14th 2018