CARRIE MARTIN – Evergreen (Psychotron Records)

EvergreenHull singer-songwriter Carrie Martin’s Evergreen rekindles the folk-rock-progressive vibe of the late 70’s, just before punk rock with its spit, safety pins, pogo dancing, and Melody Maker’s “Charles Unpleasant” cartoons laid waste to a whole lot of talent and some pretty great albums.

Fans of the later Renaissance and the Jane Relf (Keith’s sister) fronted Illusion’s two albums will enjoy this album. The same is true for Noosha Fox’s band, appropriately named Fox, who had a nice album called Tales Of Illusion. Ditto for Michael Oldfield’s sister, Sally, with the wonderful Waterfall record. And there were other turntable spins like Gordon Giltrap’s Peacock Party, Anthony Phillips’ The Geese And The Ghost, Spriguns’ Magic Lady, and Decameron’s Tomorrow’s Pantomime, all gifted with melodic patience, beauty, and impeccable musicianship, even if they didn’t quite “rock the casbah”.

But, as (the great) Richard Thompson once wrote, “If you really mean it, it all comes around again”. Carrie Martin’s folk soul touches a deep root. The acoustic-deep bass gulped ‘Beside The Evergreen’ bleeds with passion. This is unashamedly beautiful music that deeply cares about an acoustic cosmos’ concerns. Then, ‘Wynter’ weaves a clever acoustic guitar stitch into a vocal warm tapestry. Ah – ‘Earth Angel’ really cuts its melodies into helium chemistry. The tune has no rock ballast. But that’s all right. That’s sort of the vibe of the song.

But then, in really nice juxtaposition, the zeppelin inflates with the lengthy folk-prog heaven of ‘Keep The Light’. The tune begins with an acoustic guitar and vocal (that recalls Kate Bush!), but then Oliver Wakeman (!!!) enters with a soft piano sound and eventually soars with sonic keyboard wizardry, as ‘Barracuda’ Heart guy, Roger Fisher just plays a glorious prog rock electric solo that’s raw with a melodic chaser. It conjures The Strawbs’ dramatic Hero And Heroine days. Big compliments all around. This is epic stuff.

That’s followed by more sophisticated folk music. The soulful vocal/acoustic guitar ‘Deep Blue Heaven’ is a naked encore to the big scope of preceding song. ‘End Of Story’ follows with piano grace (curtesy of favorite son, Oliver, again!). And ‘End Of Story’ is equally blessed with an acoustic guitar and Carrie’s sublime voice.

The poet John Keats once wrote, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”. Well, two songs, ‘She Doesn’t Know’ and ‘Girl With A Feather In Her Hair’, don’t quite measure up to “Grecian Urn” lofty thoughts; but the purity of this music’s soul is, at least, worthy to be in the very same grocery line, with a shopping trolly cart filled with melodic and, of course, organically grown vegetables.

Incidentally, both songs are not available of the vinyl release!

In addition, the CD only bonus track, ‘Loren’, is an acoustic guitar instrumental Gordon Giltrap cover, and it sings with a parting gesture of thanks to a great musician, and a really decent guy.

But with anti-matter uncertainty, the track, ‘Luna’, is only on the vinyl, and the first 100 copies (of a mere 300!) are signed by Carrie!

So, for music buyers, as the saying goes, “Mind the gap”.

And just so you know (to get all literary, again!), Henry David Thoreau in Walden, details the rebirth of “an egg…buried for ages under the concentric layers of woodenness in the dead dry leaf of society” that, of course, gets “to enjoy its perfect summer life at last!” Such is the case Martin’s muse, (with the help of the before-mentioned Gordon Giltrap) which has resurfaced, after parenthood and all of that, to find a receptive audience who, once again, cares about acoustic music with melodic patience and impeccable musicianship, that still, even after all these years, still doesn’t need to “rock the casbah”. But that’s all right because, she has good company with the acoustic folk revival of artists like Shannon Lay, Cate Le Bon, Kate Stables (of This Is The Kit fame), Meg Baird, and The Weather Station’s Tamara Lineman. And a special mention needs to go to Fairport/nascent King Crimson/Trader Horne singer Judy Dyble’s wonderful albums, Talking With Strangers and Earth Is Sleeping. As said, “If you really mean it, it all comes around again”.

That said, then there’s more acoustic stuff. ‘Boxes Of Nothing’ is a nice instrumental interlude that solves a crossword puzzle with dictionary dexterity. Then, ‘The Tempest’ pulses with melodic razor edge drama. The songwriting continues to float with the euphorically touched ‘Lost In The Right Time’.

Evergreen is old time – new time – always time – with music that sings with the folky seasons deftness and autographs every lovely autumnal thought that posits even more melodic organic vegetables into any poetic versed folk-singing vinyl grooved grocery shopping trolly.

Bill Golembeski

Artist’s website:

‘Beside The Evergreen’ – official video:

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