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Martha Reich, Gig Review. Liverpool Acoustic Gardens, Kazimier, Liverpool.

Martha Reich at the Kazimier. August 2015

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

There are people around the world that will make their way to Liverpool on the basis of what the city has brought them and made them feel. They will spend time, effort and money getting to know the place and hopefully leave with more than the impression that the area is solely about the four lads who adorn many a shop window and their rightful place in British pop history.

Then there are those who come to the city, from far and wide, from the other side of great and vast oceans or who cross many thousands of trackless sky to perform, even if for just half an hour, and to go home as though the world will never be the same again. It is a performer’s urban paradise arguably unequalled anywhere in England and only Edinburgh during Fringe season can give it a run for its money.

For the tremendously talented Martha Reich, the urge to come across the Atlantic Ocean and take part in a few performances was one that benefitted the Liverpool Acoustic Garden at the Kazimier and its audience completely.

This musical thread that co-existed between wide eyed and appreciative crowd and the backdrop of Santa Fe, New Mexico guitar and ukulele was one that both parties would take home and relish every moment caught in the mind’s eye and be played over and over again until to those whom music booking find a way to bring Ms. Reich back to a city that she so obviously adores.

The rain may have started the threaten to wash other areas of music going on within the city’s boundaries but for those in relative comfort and hearing the wind pick up a pace as it raced through the narrow streets, time stood still and even when the rain did start to drizzle during her set, nobody dared move till each and every song had been played out in full.

Songs such as ElementsWait For MeFadeawayGravity and the wonderful Never Be Surprised were played with a sense of serenity and unbridled emotion mixed with a flavour of the deep southern/Latin American search for honesty and memorable groove. In all these aspects Ms. Reich did not disappoint.

A touch of the exotic on an inclement day in Liverpool, there really is no finer feeling. Ms. Reich added a rich texture to the Bank Holiday weekend with her appearance at the Liverpool Acoustic Garden at the Kazimier.

Ian D. Hall

A lone guitar and cello atmospherically open up the new offering from singer songwriter Martha Reich out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then Reich unfolds images wrapped in care to a wonderful instrumentation perfectly placed to allow her lyrics to take shape and give meaning.  Reich co-produced with Larry Mitchell as well as climbing behind the console to engineer several tracks in this ambitious project born at two studios.  She writes, sings, produces, engineers, plays guitars-acoustic & electric, also plays keyboards and tends to violin textures.  She is well supported by Gregg Braden on acoustic guitar who also adds a Native Red Cedar flute and is also accompanied by Michael Kott on viola and cello.  Josh Martin holds some of the tunes down on bass, but also adds a sweet mandolin to the work as producer Mitchell assists on acoustic and electric guitars.


Reich’s appeal comes through her vocals and lyrics, she seems to be a writer talking to us all about this life we are in, but I have the feeling she is also talking to herself in soft reassuring question that welcomes thought and rest.  Rest from the weariness of life, of the fears that living life and accepting chance and choices always brings.  As a writer I have fallen for the images and the quiet musical landscape that supports Martha’s vocal, which invite one in to explore with her feelings.

It would be diminishing to listen and reminisce, searching memory banks of other female artists that certainly have influenced this artist, but that seems like way too much work behind her melodic and textured tapestry of lyrics and music.  What I find myself drifting off to, more than her well-crafted words and images, is the feel Reich employs in the music to support the story. Arrangements are rafted in flowing lush ideas that illuminate her realities, her dreams, her life. The sparse musical accompaniment is devised to assist her art/vision and become the form Reich employs, defines someone who knows where they want to take their audience.

“Buddha Blue” as, “To The Moon”, effortlessly unfolds in warmth, melody and heart.  Ms. Reich truly hits her stride on the standard, “Moon River”.  The treatments of this tune are a once in a lifetime ability to interrupt another’s classically crafted song and make it your own.  Many singer/songwriters in my opinion miss the obvious mark with this skill in being an entertainer or communicator.  Reich has made the tune her own, never beckoning to the declared; she re-thinks the feeling, and the lyric, certainly the arrangement that most will attempt to compare the tune to.  But, they will fall short, it’s no longer a Mercer/Mancini composition, Reich has made it her own, allowing us to find the pathos with her that she’s found.  Reich is perfect on this work, but that will have to do.  She had a vision, followed it through and left us with the gift.  If you’re into a good read, have a listen, drink the chapters in and tell someone that you know would love it.  A really good read has to be shared.

[Christopher Anderson]

Martha Reich has a great voice and the lyrics to her songs are personal and intimate. At the end of the CD I was pretty sure I understood her relationship to people, her losses and her cats because she is flat out open and honest.  ‘Flesh and Blood’ says “cause I feel the bumps and the divisions, I try to steer clear but I never miss them.”  Her vocal style is reminiscent of early Joni Mitchell (going from low to high notes) but I think Martha has made much of the delivery her own. Some lyrics are whispered, which caught my attention and she also will pause between the main part of line so that the significant ending has a note and moment all it’s own.  The guitar work is interesting.  She makes very tasteful use of her accompanying musicians. “Where do I send this love now that you have gone…” and other sentiments such as ‘Song For Tessa’ –“I won’t give up on miracles” certainly recall those all-too-real, painful but meaningful moments and gaps in our lives. This is a nice CD and just a bit mesmerizing.