Reviews

Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar’s The Reckless One

By Brian Rock

Canadian songbird Samantha Martin and her musical Soul-mates, Delta Sugar return for their third album, The Reckless One. Radiating classic mid-sixties soul vibes on every note, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar add a much needed dose of sweetness to this bitter year.

Pounding drums and blaring horns introduce the stirring, anthemic, “Love Is All Around.” Over a funky bass line, Martin sings, “Place your hand in mine. Together we’ll get through and tomorrow you will find that you’re getting stronger. It’s getting easier to see… love is all around you. Love is all you need.” Swirling Hammond organ and pulsing horns punctuate this oft told, but always welcome, message like musical exclamation points. 

Samantha Martin’s voice is a force of nature. As powerful as contemporaries Tami Neilson and Ruthie Foster, as soulful as legends Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding; her voice is a full force gale that moves the body and lifts the soul. And her band keeps up with her stride per stride. What ska is to reggae, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar are to soul: respectful of the source, but revved up, reenergized, and teetering on the brink of reckless.

“Don’t Have to Be,” is a fast paced plea to compromise told with all the urgency of Otis Redding at his most dynamic. Martin entices with a funky Sharon Jones swagger on, “Meet Me in the Morning.” She channels the tortured Soul of Amy Winehouse on “Who Do You.” Delta Sugar perfectly captures the “Wall of Sound” energy of The Ronettes, and The Crystals on “Sacrifice” and “Pass Me By.”

When Martin switches to low gear for her ballads, she still manages to retain her punch in what can only be described as “tender power.” “Loving You Is Easy,” is an Etta James inspired celebration of wrong love that feels so right. “I’ve Got a Feeling,” is a much more pared down and intimate expression of love. “All That I Am,” evokes the smooth sounds of Philly soul. Finally, Martin unleashes a heartbreaking gut punch on, “Better to Have Never.” The song sounds exactly like your first heartbreak felt. Singing, “I don’t remember never loving you. Oh, don’t make me remember ever loving you.” It’s a devastating moment of raw emotion that’s somehow comforting and cathartic.

With its horn heavy arrangements, funky bass lines, soulful guitar riffs and Martin’s explosive voice, “The Reckless One,” is as sweet and irresistible as pure delta sugar.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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