MP3 Amy Martin - This Fall
A benefit CD -- all proceeds donated to health and education projects in Afghanistan. September eleventh the Tao Te Ching, gender-bending an old folk tune up and U.S. alien policy are just a few of the inspirations for the songs on Amy's tertiary album.
12 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Modernistic Folk, FOLK: Political
This Fall Songs
Amy Martin has created something truly unequalled with her tertiary CD, "This Fall." Recorded as a kind of sonic postcard from the tumultuous autumn of 2001, Martin is selling the album as a fundraiser for health and education projects in Afghanistan. Through an organization called the Harvest Project, she raised the money to record from a group of supporters, and plans to donate all of the sales -- at least $10,000 -- to the Afghan Institute of Learning and RAWA. (More information about these groups is available on her website).
But it's not only the fundraising plan that makes this album new and different. It's the songs themselves. Political without being preachy, direct without sacrificing subtlety, Martin's songs tackle the big questions with an uncommon sense of complexity and personal responsibility.
Martin has something to say, and she obviously wants to be understood -- but she also wants to understand. Her songs are exploratory journeys, deep-sea dives. But rather than simply handing us the treasure, she takes us with her underwater. In this way, she allows us to see her in process, sometimes confused, other times convinced. She isn't trying to teach us a lesson. She's inviting us to join her in a question.
For instance, when Martin howls out a lament over the violence of modern society in "Ring Around," she dives right into the places where she herself is a tacit accomplice to everyday crimes:
"I've heard the shots outside my window in Chicago
I've wondered who might be wounded
And then closed my eyes and gone back to sleep
Columbine, Cabrini Green, Columbia River Valley
It's all the same
Just a different set of weapons
And different names on the graves..."
This notion of "going back to sleep," or perhaps failing to wake up at all, is also raised in "My Fellow Americans." The percussive opening sounds the alarm. Then, Martin begins to sing the stories of characters named Luisa, Enrique, Dolores and Immanuel. As the song develops, we begin to understand that the Americans being addressed here are not only U.S. citizens, but all the Americans of the western hemisphere. She asks us to make connections between the lives of these two types of Americans in the chorus:
"My fellow Americans
Do you know where your good dollar goes?
Do you know who you're paying?
My fellow Americans
Can you forgive us?
We know not what we do
It's easier that way."
Martin's serious, personal exploration of these heavy topics is a welcome relief from the feel-good pop that dominates the airwaves. However, she has also included more buoyant songs on the album, such as the delightful "Rake and Ramblin' Girl" and the gentle, relaxed "First Snow."
Another interesting feature of the album are the three songs based on chapters of the "Tao Te Ching," as translated by Ursula K. Le Guin. The airy, up-beat "Taoing" opens the album with a mixture of hope and mystery, while "What is Complete," featuring beautiful lead guitar work by Mason Tuttle, provides a cooling salve to the wounds exposed in other songs. "Prayer to Mamagod," a plea for a deeper, more personal understanding of peace, and "Open," a song of gratitude for the joy, loss, pain and growth of relationship, are also highlights.
In the post-September 11th world, it is encouraging to know that artists are making a response not only in words but also in action. If you're struggling to find your voice and hoping to make a difference, "This Fall" is the album for you.
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CDBaby has agreed to reduce their commission on sales of "This Fall," to assist the fundraising effort. $14 of every CD sold through CDBaby will go to the Afghan Institute of Learning and RAWA. Learn more at https://www.tradebit.com.
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"This Fall" was recorded live, with no overdubs, at The Recording Center, Missoula, Montana.
Richard H. Kuschel, engineer.
Paul Donaldson, drums.
Mason Tuttle, vocals and lead guitar.
Mike Freemole, bass.
Sue Silverberg, additional vocals.
Amy Martin, vocals, guitar and piano.
All songs by Amy Martin.