Do you miss good old-fashioned storytelling and gentle Americana, folk, rootsy country-rock melodies? If so, feast your eyes and ears on Martin England & The Reconstructed. Their songs are soothing to the soul. I would say that these are songs of love, but they’re not love songs. Not quite. They’re more the ruminations of relationships come and gone yet still lingering, remembered as if it were yesterday yet viewed from a distance of both time and place. There’s gentleness and gratitude mixed with disquieting feelings, nighttime anxieties and wistful regrets. These are personal stories, emotionally charged yet with a mature insightful wisdom.
“All through the haunting hours,
My mind is filled and fraught with danger
Talk to myself in the light of the TV stations,
How is it when the morning comes,
everything feels stronger to me?
The panic of the night subsides
When you’re lying next to me”
– Stronger In The Morning
Martin England has a rich songwriting history that started when he was 13, growing up in New Hampshire. His lifelong love of songwriting spawned more than 350 songs. As a member of Pondering Judd for 17 years, England write and recorded six albums, went on a national tour and achieved critical acclaim. After being offered a contract with Lost Sailor Records as a solo artist, he found new confidence in his writing. His solo debut was Razed and Reconstructed, with guest musicians Jason Cohen of the Ryan Montbleau Band on keyboards, guitarist Adam Terrell (Assembly of Dust) and Jesse Brock (2009 International Bluegrass Music Association Mandolin Player of the Year).
The current band features Martin England (acoustic & electric guitars, lead vocals), Courtney Brocks (Acoustic guitar, banjo, vocals), Sean Daniels (drums), Jesse Dold (Electric guitar, vocals) and Andrew Russell (bass). Their playing styles complement each other so nicely and naturally, it feels like an extended family.
If you like what you hear, the album has its own mini-site, where you can download two free tracks and peruse all the lyrics and some photos. Nice touch. And once you’ve had a goood listen, support the musicians and buy a digital download. Or if you prefer something you can have and hold, you can order a CD.
In a happy accident with my timing of this piece, the band will be performing on Friday, December 18 at Blue in Portland Maine at 8:00 p.m. Also on the bill that night are Shanna Underwood In The Round (6pm) and The Dupont Brothers (10pm). If you’re in the area, check them out!
England’s approach to music is a good way to end this, as its a worldview that’s tightly woven into this warm, personable music. “I want people to engage with the messages and melodies in my songs. If someone can hum a melody or recall a lyric from one of my songs three hours after a performance, it’s nirvana. But it’s not just what you take, it’s what you do with it. If one person feels like they’ve truly connected with my songs, I feel like it’s an unmitigated success.”