Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar
Bubbling up from the cauldron of roots Americana music, Samantha Martin is an artist of extraordinary power, gravitas and deep-seated emotion. On first listen, one is immediately struck by the awesome presence and sheer magnitude of her other worldly voice. Cigarette-ravaged and whiskey-soaked in the extreme, Martin’s pipes are capable of conveying an infinite range of emotions, bringing one to tears in one instance and in the next uplifting one’s soul with an empowered declaration of hope, faith and desire. As a vocalist her roots lie squarely within the wellspring of powerful, strong woman’s voices embodied by such forbears as Marion Williams, Mavis Staples, Etta James, Tina Turner, Bettye LaVette, Lucinda Williams and, perhaps most closely, Bonnie Bramlett. As a songwriter, she draws on black gospel and southern soul with a hint of roots country and sixties pop while her lyrics suggest an old soul with wisdom beyond her years.
While Martin is a powerhouse unto herself, Send the Nightingale is not the work of a single talent. In combination with what she likes to term her “co-vocalists” (as opposed to “backup vocalists”), Sherie Marshall and Stacie Tabb, the vocal blend Delta Sugar produces is pure, unadulterated neuron-tingling magic where the sum is even richer than the already soul-melting parts. Add to that guitarist Mikey McCallum’s Delta-inspired and mystery-inflected guitar lines and Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar emerge as one of the most powerful new artists I have heard in many, many years