Dichotomy, duality, twofold---there is something about the power of two. Christina Martin has tapped into this division on her sophomore album, Two Hearts. She celebrates the release on May 30 at FRED.
The title track Two Hearts is specifically about having faith on a confusing journey to find that type of love that makes you feel like you are following a path with heart, says Martin, over coffee at a North Street cafe and roaster.
When times get tough, because they will, its beneficial to have faith in something beyond yourself. For me that means sometimes having faith in other people when I dont have it in myself.
When Martin was a little girl she dreamed of being a lot of things, but a songwriter was never one of them. She explored the woods, played sports, daydreamed of rock stars, wandered through the neighbours yards, created blueprints for a backyard cabin that never materialized. At 28 years old, the Fredericton native never thought those piano lessons she hated as a kid would eventually pay off.
I was more interested in learning rock n roll songs than classical tunes, she says. And I refused the material that my instructor gave me. After kicking out the wooden sound board at the base of my upright piano in defiance of refusing to practice, I won a battle with my parents to quit piano and spent more time at the pony club.
Instead of bucking her Gemini nature, she decided to embrace it. But this time around she did things her way---she ditched the keys---and explored her creativity on acoustic guitar and vocals. Produced by Dale Murray (Cuff the Duke, The Guthries) and co-engineered with Charles Austin, Martin relied on some of Halifaxs finest musicians to create the heart-warming Two Hearts.
Guest appearances include Danny Ledwell on keyboards, synthesizer, glockenspiel and trumpet; Rose Cousins on backing vocals; Jason Vautour on bass; Kinley Dowling on violin and viola; Andrew Sisk on backing vocals; Adam Baldwin on acoustic guitar and Hammond organ; and Brian Murray on drums and banjo.
Two Hearts is somewhat of a homecoming record for Martin, as she fled the historic port town in 1999 for Austin, Texas. She quickly became a regular in the bar scene, performing alongside such acts as Wilco, singing backup for Young Heart Attack and working on her own material. She lived in Germany briefly only to return to Austin.
While living stateside, she released her debut album Pretty Things in October 2002. Shortly after that she returned to the east coast and put her music career on the backburner.
Recently, Ive faced my fear of becoming a career musician, she says. It has been scary but there have been many seemingly small yet epic moments where Ive gotten support. Dale Murray poured his heart into the new record, which I am grateful for.
This year was it for me. The point came where I knew I had to make the transition to becoming a career musician---I had to start asking for help, and I had to turn down the idea of doing anything else if this was anything that was going to take off. I still dont know whats going to happen past the plans I have written down on paper and the new album I have in my hands.
A combination of patience and perseverance should see the bright-eyed songstress through, not to mention the solid collection of heartfelt, timeless songs. In honour of her upcoming tour throughout New Brunswick and Ontario, shes been playing a few gigs around at local libraries, including Alderney and Spring Garden Public Library.
On her own bedside nightstand rests What Theyll Never Tell You About the Music Business, by Peter M. Thall and Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon---and Journey of a Generation by Shelia Weller, as Martin believes travel is what pushes her pen to the page.
Without a doubt, travelling gets my creative juices flowing, Martin says. Perhaps because there is no place for me to run errands when Im sitting in a car, on plane or train, and then Im taking in so much new information. Its like re-fuelling with new experiences.
Christina Martin w/Share, Friday, May 30 at FRED, 2606 Agricola, 7pm, $10 adv./$12.