# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Ryan Martin - Gimme Some Light

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 13 / 10 / 2018

Ryan Martin - Gimme Some Light
Label: High Moon Records
Format: CD


Sophomore album from Californian-born, New York-resident Ryan Martin which shows itself to be an Americana-influenced minor classic

Once in a while an album will come along that immediately stops you from whatever you are doing and demands that you listen. Sometimes it’s obvious why that said album has that effect; it might remind the listener of their favourite band, the lyrics might reflect what you’re feeling or have felt or the atmosphere, the actual sound, might just lift you to another place and take you out of your drab world for the duration. ‘Gimme Some Light’, the sophomore release from Californian Ryan Martin who is now residing in New York, is one of those albums that demands your immediate attention. The songs (thirteen on the single CD, sixteen on the double vinyl version complete with gatefold sleeve; this piece is written after listening to the CD) are steeped in what we now term classic Americana. But while echoes of Neil Young, Ryan Adams and even Springsteen and The Band can be heard throughout the album we should also add that more contemporary artists like Israel Nash are not totally off the scale either. There are a host of musicians helping flesh out Martin’s honest and at times deeply personal songs. Although he plays more than a handful of instruments (guitar, piano, bass, celeste, harmonica, Chamberlain and glockenspiel), Martin is ably assisted by other musicians who contribute Wurlitzer, sax, organ, mandolin, brass, banjo….you get the idea. Maybe, just maybe, the most affective addition on some tracks is the pedal steel and lap steel of Jonny Lam. The press release notes that ‘Gimme Some Light’ is a "living jukebox" and that’s a pretty spot-on description. For all the instruments and despite his obvious love of the Americana genre, there’s enough of Ryan Martin on display here to make the album so much more than its parts. Despite the fact that at least part of ‘Gimme Some Light’ is a result of some dark times in Martin’s life; a car accident triggered a period in his life which resulted in Martin spending time in jail and needing further treatment, there are moments when the music sounds like a celebration of life and which will have leave the listener on a high which will make not only the body move but have a positive effect on the mind, despite the lyrics being at odds with the joyfulness of the backing. ‘Adeline’, one such song, gives almost a minute's notice that we’re in for a brooding, confessional-type song until the music kicks in fully and Martin’s high-lonesome vocals pull you into the song. It’s but one track that will leave you breathless. At other times, as on ‘Be Kind’, Martin shows a gentler side. The song is a heartbreaking ballad, Carrie Ashley Hill’s harmony vocals adding to the sadness seeping through every line while Jonny Lam’s contribution just reinforces the melancholy that drips from the song. The opening song, ‘All the Good Men’, is the perfect introduction to the music of Ryan Martin; it displays both the sensitivity in his vocals and also how powerful they can be. It starts as a piano-led ballad, those high-lonesome vocals stopping you in your tracks before the song unfolds to take in more instruments and a more emotional-sounding Martin before the song takes a final turn into soul territory. It’s this last section where those Band influences are on show and where Martin proves he is worthy of such high praise. ‘Destitute Darlings’ is a track that also defines Martin’s sound. A punchier, rockier side of his sound is displayed while still keeping that soul-infused intensity of the opening cut. ‘Death of Love’ is another slower song again seeped in that classic soulful side of Americana. ‘Say You Love Me’ is ultra-catchy, a jangly summer pop song that should have been blasting out of radios this long hot summer. It’s irresistible. ‘Ask Your Mother’ is another song where the tempo is slowed down and which features more soulful vocals from Martin. It’s simply another breathtaking performance. The closing ‘Real Human Being’ is possibly the most heartbreaking song/performance on the set. A stripped-back arrangement exposes more of Martin than we’ve previously heard. There’s so much ground covered on ‘Gimme Some Light’ it’s almost embarrassing that Ryan Martin doesn’t have a bigger following, although that can only be a matter of time. Yes. the sound has roots buried deep in Americana but there’s so much more on offer here, almost like Martin and his chosen musicians have developed their own unique take on the genre; it’s that good, that special. There have been no lyrical quotes from this album simply because it’s impossible to pick just a few lines. The lyrics need to be read as the music is playing. Ryan Martin has captured a remarkable sound; his lyrics are something else and really deserve a piece of their own. As Americana albums go, Gimme Some Light’ is one of the best this year so far.

Track Listing:-
1 All the Good Men
2 Destitute Darlings
3 Death of Love
4 Parasol
5 Say You Love Me
6 Dangerously Unplugged
7 Regular Man
8 Suicide Parade
9 Be Kind
10 Adeline
11 Lepers in Armor
12 Ask Your Mother
13 Real Human Being

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