I am going to put this down in writing that I think the words best kept secret would probably be pretty apt, as when ever i am asked about my favourite songwriters or musicians from bristol, i find myself talking at sometimes great length about this artist. the usual responce being who the hell is she?
Well the She in question is CAROLINE MARTIN, an artist that lives so local to me that she can often be seen walking her dogs on the near bye Victoria park. She is a rather hushed personality that has the amazing ability to openly express so many emotions through her music. So much so that she is possibly the only Bristol based artists to boast about doing 3 Jon Peel Sessions and The National cover one of her songs.
The first times I came across Caroline Martin was back in 2004 at the very first ever Bristol Acoustic Music Festival at the folk house. i remember bein there to see one of my music tutors play in the Shrinks. he tipped me off about Caroline.
I already knew a few of the other acts on the bill that day, like Roger Tarry who I had seen at the Fleece earlier that week supporting fellow Bristol artist Jane Taylor, so i was planning to stay around anyway, it would have been rude of me to leave before the headliner had played.
And what can I say , other then it was one of those what I consider real life changing moments within music. It was like a master class in raw nerve shredding emotion. From the off I could feel the seat I was sat in eat me up, each song hust rang rings inside of me, as her slightly withdrawn looking figure. I could feel my eyes becoming bleached white and starting to shake.
I remember buying her debut album after that very show, I was so shaken up that I could virtually feel my insides churning with nerves, even dropping my money all over the place. Such a stunning effect that I actually found it quite difficult to listen to. It is quite a challenging record of an emotional roller-coaster.
There are obvious comparisons that can be made to the likes of PJ Harvey, not just in her own playing style but they both originally hail from Devon. I know this may well sound like a tenuous link when it comes to comparisons. but it is something more then equal in her part when it comes to her lyrical ability.
I guess this is what may have drawn the National to record a cover of Without Permission, a song that never fails to make me shed at least maybe a tear or two, I know that I do get overly emotional to music, but when ever I hear her voice it kind of sends a bit of a cold chill down my spine my spine.
One of my favourite songs is a song called The Singer, which I think tells the tale of loves loss and jealousy. It sparkles with a dark simplicity and a raw unnerving anger of disappointment, which ripples almost stream like through an aching cold voice. every time I have seen her live, I have found myself singing this song out loud. the last time being a nice intimate gig in her kitchen as a part of the Totterdown arts Trail.
It had the perfect intimacy for her and her trademark stripped down guitar setting. It was always a stamp of quality if you had the seal of approval from the late great John Peel, he recordings of her 3 sessions for John Peel from 1998-2003, lead to her releasing this little compilation towards the end of last year.
She also released this nice stripped down little ep back in 2007
I my opinion her music is sound of maturity, and the perfect tonic to the faux heart playing middle of the road boredom of Mumford and Sons or Laura Marling twee diddling dullness.
Hopefully Caroline will be releasing her second proper full length album this year!