Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Folk/Pop Duos Martha's Trouble, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway Perform Friday at Spicer's Music (10/25/2013)

"...we are most often inspired by other people's stories or trying to figure out life like everyone else." -Martha's Trouble

On Friday, October 25, from 7-11 PM CT, Spicer's Music in Auburn (2140 E. University Dr. - buy tickets) will host the Duo's United Tour featuring three nationally exposed folk/pop duos. They are Martha's Trouble, Naked Blue and Beki Hemingway. Beki wrote about the collaboration on her website here. Embedded above is a playlist with videos by all the bands. Below are a few questions I posed to Rob and Jen Slocumb, the Opelika couple that is Martha's Trouble.

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Patrick McCurry: You appear locally on a regular basis. Do you run into what I call the Prophet-in-his-own-hometown syndrome? In other words, as a band with exposure throughout the US and into Canada and some very popular tracks like "Anchor Tattoo," "Waverly," "Some Peace Tonight," and "A Prayer For a Broken Heart," can you compare building a fan base nationally to doing it locally?

Martha's Trouble: Certainly we see some of that, especially now that we have been in the area for eight years. You know, before we lived in the Opelika area, we would sell out two nights at Eighth & Rail on a tour through the southeast. That's one of the reasons we put roots down here [because of how supportive the community was] when we were doing a show in town.

For us, building something on a more national scale was easier for us, for the simple fact that we wanted to be on the road and were willing to sacrifice whatever we needed to to accomplish that. And for many years we feel we were successful at that. And that has carried us a long way, in that now that we are home a lot more raising kids, we can still put out an album and generate some national attention.

PM: Where is your new material coming from, and how have you seen it evolve from the first music you put out there?

MT: The songs are still coming from the same place they always have in that we are most often inspired by other people's stories or trying to figure out life like everyone else. I think what is evolving is our style and intention on the song.

For example, one of the more recent songs we have written is a song called, "Prayer For a Broken Heart." This song came out of watching a press conference of a widow talking about the kidnapping of her husband and pleading for his safe return. This was a tragic murder that happened in Jen's hometown, Ancaster, Ontario. It's a heart wrenching story and we were just trying to capture the emotion and questions that everyone was asking.

PM: Your recent CD was a lullaby project (A Heart Like You), and you've said elsewhere that you never expected to do a children's album. How did the project change the way you create and present music for grown-ups?

MT: Well, the lullaby CD didn't really change the way we create and present music for grown-ups, really. It was something that we intentionally decided to do and so we put a specific time and energy into the CD without creating other music at the time. It was very intentional even though it wasn't expected.

It was something that was inspired not only by having kids of our own, but our fans having kids. People would tell us that they play our music for their kids or their newborn baby and it got us thinking that if kids were responding to our music then how cool would it be to have something specific for them that their parents would enjoy.

PM: You are on tour with two other duos. What are these other bands like, and how did you get connected with them? 

MT: Yes we are touring with Naked Blue (website), a husband/wife duo out of Baltimore, & Beki Hemingway (website) a husband (Randy) /wife duo out of Denver. We've known both couples since early 2000's. There is a folk venue in Chicago, Uncommon Ground, that we were pretty much a mainstay at from 2000-2005. During that time Beki & Randy were based in Chicago and were very involved in that scene. Uncommon Ground took a few of the artists that were regulars and showcased us at the Folk Alliance Conference in Vancouver.

Naked Blue we've known for about the same length of time. We first met Jen & Scott when we were doing some dates on the east coast and played a folk room in Baltimore. Since then we have done a few other tours with them. In fact, we first brought them to Opelika around 2007 when we were running the Star Songwriter's Series.

PM: As your hometown community, how can we support you as you tour, leverage air play, and sell CDs around the world?

MT: It is so important to have support from our community. That means coming out to our shows, telling your friends to come to our shows, sharing our music with family or friends that haven't heard it before, buying our lullaby CD for baby shower gifts, calling local or satellite radio to request an MT song, giving a review online of our music. There are so many little things that one can do that make a huge difference for us. We need our local community's support!

PM: I'll add to that using e-mail and our social media channels to sing their praises to our friends around the country and the world. Martha's Trouble has a Facebook page, a twitter feed, a YouTube channel, a tumblr deal, an instagram thingy, and a website at www.marthastrouble.com with an e-mail list you can subscribe to. If you like the music, if you like to support local stars on tour, or if you care about Rob and Jen, then share videos, pictures, audio and news any way you can, and come out to the concert Friday night!

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