Rebecca Martin

One circumstance that makes our mission particularly fun is when we get the opportunity to profile an artist of outrageous talent of whom we believe only a small portion of our readership may have heard.

Thanks to music promoters and consultants Louise Coogan and Peggy O’Brien, I first became aware of Rebecca Martin a few years ago, during the time her CD Middlehope was receiving attention and radio airplay. I didn’t cover it at the time, had a different agenda on my mind, but kept it and its predecessor Thoroughfare in the collection. (That means more than you might think, since one has to trade or give away loads of records regularly or they will take over the entire house and/or office very quickly.)

I was in our leased Soho digs one morning some weeks ago, and had an email from my music friend Amanda Case on Bainbridge Island. She mentioned that I really ought to check out the new CD by Rebecca Martin. I thought, "I remember her. She was really good--why didn’t I cover her?" Which is really frustrating, because you can’t really remember why, you simply can’t cover everybody. Literally, you pick eight out of the eighty records you’ve received that month (or have hunted down yourself) for a whole variety of reasons, and make an issue. Those reasons may include how the records go together, or some thing, somebody, or some scene that you’ve become interested in that month, or the suggestion of a friend or associate that we have a listen to an artist or record.

Anyhow, I made a note of Amanda’s suggestion, and that very hour had a call from my friend Bill DeMain (of Swan Dive), one of our favorite songsmiths and music writers. He was very excited about having spent the previous week at a songwriting retreat in England sponsored by Chris Difford (of Squeeze fame), and quite in particular about a fantastic artist he’d been writing with named Rebecca Martin, whose latest CD I had to hear right away. That synchronicity was enough for me, and I presumed straight away not to simply review her, but to interview the artist. Certainly anyone who gets Billy D. that fired up was worth a close look, indeed.

The CDs I’d heard previously were really good, but People Behave Like Ballads hit me a lot harder, and a lot deeper. The songs and the singing are immensely satisfying, and the players are superb. It’s no wonder that the NY Critics are all over this record. (Middlehope, by the way, hit the New York Times Top Ten, a huge feat without a major label.)

As I mention in the interview, it came to pass that I only received the CD the afternoon before the interview was scheduled to take place. Usually I reserve more time than that to spend with a record, so I was moved to live many of the hours in between with headphones on, using Ballads as a soundtrack to exploring the greatest city on earth.

So, that level of unacquainted intimacy, combined with the fact that we had a number of friends in common, set the stage for our phone call. Musically and otherwise, Rebecca is a very generous and eloquent soul, and you will learn many things about this fascinating artist in the space of a single telephone conversation. Please be very sure to listen to clips, and to buy People Behave Like Ballads, here. She’s certainly one of our most important discoveries of the year.  continue to interview