CD Review: Jason R. Martin – Our Newfoundland – by Bob Everhart for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show


Our Newfoundland

Saltwater Hands – Lamaline – Rowed Up In A Dory –
Seagulls – Northern Flicker – Richard Gillett’s Stand On The Hill – Old
Man’s Accordion – Berry Pickin’ Time – From An Island To An Island –
Those Bloody Roundabouts – Good Are The Memories – We Thank You For Our

The very first thing I need to say about this incredible
‘traditional’ and ‘heritage’ musical adventure is the work of Ralph
Martin.  He’s the writer of many of the songs on this recording.  One of
his songs “Saltwater Hands” is the opening song on the CD, and it
instantly brought tears to my eyes.  For several reasons.  This is the
old way of ‘sharing’ stories and music.  Mr. Martin is mourning the
change in our lives, the change in our small towns, the change in our
music, from a very true and authentic musical genre and art style to a
computer driven sound-alike creation of nothing.  For me ‘everything’ in
what Mr. Martin is telling us is what this original genre of music is
all about.  It’s his son, Jason Martin who brings us the force of the
song  with his very distinguishable voice and pleasant comfort in which
he obviously enjoys presenting.  The incredibly pleasant manner in which
all the participants put this really nice listening experience into
effect is also pretty amazing.  They know exactly what they want this
particular project to sound like.  It wouldn’t be the same without each
and every one of the participants.  Accordion stands out front, and
‘presents’ the picture they are painting wonderfully traditional.  Each
and every song, funny and otherwise, carries a really ‘true’ experience,
which is the forefront of this entire musical adventure.  Lester Martin
is the guy on accordion playing this amazingly pleasant musical
instrument.  My my my does he do it well?  Oh yes indeed he does. 
Calvin Martin also plays accordion, which means a whole bunch of
Martin’s are making this session work.  In the song “Richard Gillett’s
Stand On The Hill” they make it very clear, ‘if we don’t stand up and
save it, who will’ is a strong testament to the desire of this Martin
family to ‘save’ their musical heritage of Newfoundland.  I doubt there
could be a better way to present such a beautifully well intentioned
objective.  Another instrument they use well on this recording is the
fiddle, played so proficiently by Randy Morrison.  Add to that the
guitar and mandolin of Marty Delaney; lots more accordion from Gary Gale
and Cary Carroll; and guitar and banjo from Albert MacDonald who also
played a roll as a kind of producer.  Not sure who decided to add the
‘sound affects’ sea gulls, water sounds, fun voices in ‘Berry Pickin’
Time’ for instance…ALL of it makes this a ‘complete’ recording. It’s
not just some songs to listen to, it’s a complete ‘story’ and ‘musical
opera’ taking place right before our very ears. Wow, I haven’t heard
this much tradition and this much heritage performed so well in years
and years. Last, but certainly not least, Jason Martin has exactly the
‘voice’ and the ‘charisma’ to make this all work so well. What a
magnificent presentation.  I review recordings for Country Music News
International which is a large e-magazine in Europe.  Christian, the
editor, constantly asks me to review some of the newer Nashville
product, but I don’t really feel I’m qualified to do that when my heart
and soul is in the heritage and tradition of ‘music’ that come from real
experiences, from real geographical locations, from real writers
writing about real things.  For me that’s what ‘true’ traditional music
is all about, and these Martin boys really know how to do that.  My I
wish they didn’t live so far from us.  I’m sending this CD on to the
Rural Roots Music Commission who is currently looking forward to hearing
projects for their “International Heritage CD of the Year” award.  What
I do know is this is exactly what they are looking for.  I’m going to
be very brash and suggest to these Martin Boys, I know you are a long
way from us, but if you can somehow find your way to take a vacation,
come see us in America, all the way to Fremont, Nebraska, where the RRMC
give their awards away on October 3-4-5-6.  The main stage is yours if
they give you their CD of the Year award.  Right now, as I sit on the
panel, ‘yes’ it’s a deal. RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President
National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News

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