The Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week commencing Saturday 6 December 2014 is the new CD from Glasgow singer-songwriter Martha L. Healy ‘Better Days’
While other kids learned nursery rhymes and playground songs, Martha was busy grooving along to ‘Jolene’ & ‘Hotel California.’ Martha was raised on sounds of classic American artists – such as Bonnie Raitt, The Eagles, Suzanne Vega and The Travelling Wilburys – and the legendary Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. Her musical journey, from reciting traditional Celtic songs at home with family in Glasgow, to recording her USA debut Americana album in Nashville is a truly inspiring story.
Martha’s school poems and short stories served as a springboard for her developing teenage songwriting. “Everyone was listening to Nirvana, rap or dance music,” says Martha. “And then there was me, buried in my bedroom, listening to Bonnie Raitt, Dixie Chicks, Sheryl Crow and Patsy Cline….I loved the honesty of the lyrics and the raw emotion of the performances and connected with them straight away. These women had something to say and stories to tell….they wanted to make a change and I wanted to do the same.”
From playing solo at small venues in her hometown – whilst continuing to work at her craft exploring country, folk, blues, celtic and welcoming the great new upsurge in the popularity of Americana – Martha remained true to the music she was raised on. Coming from an Irish-Scottish upbringing, she was always encouraged to have her own opinion. “I’ve always been honest with myself, musically, and as fads have come and gone, followed my passion for real music with integrity.”
Last summer saw Martha visit Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time: it was here she had the opportunity to jam with some local musicians and realised this was the mecca for the music she loved. This was the time and the place for her to realise the musical ambitions she had been working on.
In 2014, Martha returned to Nashville to complete recording her uplifting debut album, ‘Better Days.’ Sometimes intimate, sometimes pleading, sometimes reverberating into a soulful crescendo – with homage to Maria McKee, Dusty Springfield and Patsy Cline – it’s an album of passion hope and inspiration, highlighted by high energy roots cuts, gospel-tinged anthems & country ballads.
Apart from ‘House of Love’ by Drew Phillips, and ‘Too Much Vodka’, Martha wrote all the songs in collaboration with Phil Ferns. Recently formed her ‘home’ band which launched the album at The Grand Ole Opry – Glasgow one that is, on 30 November to a home crowd of friends, followers and family, some having travelled over from Ireland, who especially loved ‘Burtonport’, where Martha has fond memories of visiting.
I caught up with her last week before the launch and along with guitarist and backing vocals of Derek Fleming and Kenny Craig on percussion, I was treated to an acoustic set of some of the songs from her album and where the songs ‘came from’. Enjoy the album! Liz
Album of the Week, Saturday 6 December 1 2 noon and 12 midnight and Monday 8 December at 7.00pm plus Catch Up anytime.