Todd Martin – Mont Clare
Record Label: Operation Champion Records
Release Date: August 28, 2007
I’m easily inspired. Maybe that’s why I love music so much. Each album and each song is an invitation to learn and evolve. It’s no one-way street, either. We have the chance to share and admire and whore out our favorite musicians to friends or strangers. Todd Martin is the latest pep in my step. His folk melodies are this week’s reason I never spent more than 2 hours face down on my bed. With any luck he’ll bring you a smile, too.
Mont Clare is calm and homely. Todd Martin combines the drawl of an ol’ timey country singer with the bite of Steven Page (from Barenaked Ladies). Martin’s lyrics are emotionally resonant and never fall into the abyss of overbearing metaphors. ”Greener Is Home,” like most of Mont Clare, focuses on Martin and his vocal melodies. The light acoustic guitar and piano is pleasant, but Martin is the main draw as he continually attaches himself right to the listener’s soul.
Like the open fields these songs beckon, clutter is never a problem. Martin is an accomplished songwriter and expertly draws the listener into his world with honest tunes about honest things. As he plainly states in “The Weather,” Martin isn’t concerned with being politically correct. Over a bluesy riff and strained vocals, he lays down his own law, “If I see you walking my way / With those demons up in your brain / Just walk on by.” Mont Clare wasn’t written for 2007. And don’t even think about checking your fancy, digital watch while jams like alt-country “Listen Like You Should” are playing. Things are simple on Mont Clare. Simple is good.
“Attention” could easily find itself on “that old fogey” radio station you always skip over, except you won’t be touching the dial this time. Each chorus on Mont Clare sticks in your head for entirely different reasons. “Attention” will have you pondering revolution, while “Static Indifference” features an oh-so-worth-it resolve. “Runaway” is about growing up and finding yourself, even if it means leaving everything you know behind. The heavy piano and folk riffs make this song instantly sweet and sorrowful. Martin bellows, “What if we say this is not the life we’re looking for?” and, well, it just clicks. Neither him nor I are teenagers (weird), but this song is a reminder that self-doubt and uncertainty never end. Oh joy.
People may lie right to your face, but I trust Todd Martin. The sincerity and life experience echoed in his lyrics have a conviction that leaves little room for doubt. Mont Clare avoids the pitfalls of most folk albums as it has plenty of mid-tempo tracks. In fact, there are times Martin doubles as an alt-rock virtuoso (“Static Indifference”). But most important to this album’s success are the heart and truth of Martin’s words. Next time one of your friends is down in the dumps, don’t forget to introduce them to your new friend Todd. They’ll be glad you did.
Recommended If You Like: Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, having lots of pets, David Shultz, trying harder than you did yesterday