“like a classic Nanci Griffith album with songs by Gretchen Peters...' - Duncan Warwick, Country Music People
"With real emotions, real people and real stories coming through in spades via Martha L. Healy’s emotive vocals, you’ll find it difficult to find a better album from these shores in 2018."– Nick Cantwell, Belles and Gals
“a sizzling string section and accordion shadow Healy’s warm vocal. Gorgeous.”
- Muff Fitzgerald, R’N’R Magazine
"the perfect soundtrack to whisky-tinged evenings in front of glowing fires." – Highway Queens
"On Keep The Flame Alight, Healy has delivered a mature and immersive set of songs superbly played." – Blabber ‘n’ Smoke
“One of the finest Americana albums out of the UK this year, Healy doesn’t just keep the flame alight, she ensures it blazes.”– Mike Davies, Folk Radio UK
"There's a sense of real, honest soul-searching in each of these tracks....Healy has a strong, clear, powerful yet sensuous voice."– Folk and Tumble
"Impeccable songwriting."– Americana Round-Up, Country Music People
"really strong song writing....she's up there with Lori McKenna."- Marie Crichton, BBC Radio Shropshire
"(a) very, very strong song.... beautifully sung." - Frank Hennessy, BBC Radio Wales
"This is a fine album of well-written, beautifully performed country songs, sung with great emotion and with a perfect musical backing. It is Nashville with a Celtic tinge and it cements Martha L. Healy’s place as one of the best young singer/songwriters around at the moment." - Blues and Roots Radio
"...there certainly are Lori McKenna vibes....it's beautiful from start to finish.."– Russell Hill’s Country Music Show
"...a continuous stream of beautiful hand crafted songs straight from the heart..."– Robsrawmusic
Scottish singer-songwriter, Martha L. Healy, has returned with her new album ‘Keep The Flame Alight’ which was released on 5th October 2018.
The album was written and recorded in Nashville and sees her develop her personal songwriting voice whilst remaining true to the musical influences of her childhood. Growing up, she was raised on a diet of Americana music, before she knew what that even meant. The Eagles, The Traveling Wilburys and folk heroes, The Dubliners were all staples of the Healy family vinyl collection. The collection also included music by Patsy Cline, Carole King and anything remotely Motown.
‘Keep The Flame Alight’ is an album recorded in Nashville, but influenced by Martha's Celtic roots. Through a mix of personal insight and story songs, she provides a fresh take on some classic themes: the need to leave somewhere to help find your place in the world; the ache of an unfulfilled love; the complexity of family and friendships and the need to live your own dreams. She also explores how being a woman in the 21st century is not without its fair share of pressures and demands.
“I miss the Northern Lights, the birds and their familiar song”
The album opens with ‘No Place Like Home’, an ode to home and Scotland, a reflection on how the place we come from can frustrate, but ultimately inspire us. Healy says, “I started to write this before I left for a 'life sabbatical' in Nashville in 2016. Scotland and me had reached a point in our relationship where I had to leave and escape for a while. I also knew I couldn’t stay in Nashville for ever...As I wrote the next verse, in Nashville, I was still intent on easing the blow of my return to Scotland and I also found myself writing lyrics about the things that I both love and hate about my homeland: the rain; the greyness; the cold wind but I also write about missing the warm fire and the fact that the people are ridiculously honest.
The whole song is about feeling weary but also depicts that feeling you get – wherever you’ve been in the world – when you get to unlock your own front door and sit down in front of the fire.”
“Got a chance to reignite, I’m just glad to be alive, I’ll do everything to keep the flame alight”
Album centrepiece ‘Keep The Flame Alight’ talks of the challenges of maintaining both your inner creativity and personal well-being, “There are times I feel burnt out of ideas, no songs are happening, I don’t want to gig and I’d prefer to hibernate. I realised this wasn't just me feeling this way! We are all trying to keep our individual flames alight every single day. I’ve always been drawn to water and earth elements but 2016 was the year I say I ignited my inner fire. I had some tough life lessons to learn that year and this came through in my writing for the album. I had to extinguish some things from my life and hold on to the good people and the good stuff. ”
Keen to prove to herself that her songwriting had developed since her first album (Better Days, 2014), Martha embarked on a life sabbatical in Nashville in 2016. Nine of the album's ten tracks are self-penned and the one co-write is with friend and Nashville artist, Wendy Newcomer, who also brings the background vocals. Following receipt of Creative Scotland funding, the album was recorded back in Music City in October/November 2017, with David Spicher in the production chair and a host of fantastic Nashville session players, including Bill Cooley (guitars/bazouki), Todd Lombardo (guitars/mandolin), Rory Hoffman (accordion, piano), Eamon McLoughlin (Fiddle), Wendy Newcomer (Vocals), Dave Racine (Drums) and Chas Williams (Dobro).
Martha launched her album at Glasgow Americana Festival and has just officially showcased at AMA UK 2019, as well as playing at Celtic Connections in January where she opened up the evening for fellow Scottish Americana artist, Jill Jackson. The rest of the year already looks busy with festival appearances and tour dates across the UK and in Ireland, including Arisaig Americana and more to be announced.
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Pic by Kris Kesiak
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