Martin shapes her unique world vision with her debut on MAXJAZZ, People Behave Like Ballads (August 31, 2004), named for a collection of poems by Robert P. Tristram Coffin, a fellow native of Maine. Written entirely by Martin, the sixteen songs are memorable, honest and moving. She sings of love, loss, hope, wisdom, loneliness and searches - along with her listeners - for understanding of the human condition through her music.
Throughout the recording, her clear and strong voice appears to have no range limits. Much like Joni Mitchell in her early career, to whom Martin has been compared by the NEW YORK TIMES, Martin shadows her voice or allows it to soar or to gracefully settle inside the notes. Listening to her sing is like watching the tides roll in and out or a bird fly above. There is continual motion, seamless sound and an unbroken line of thought.
The emotion she evokes is also wide-ranging. When she sings, "Music is for anyone who's open to hear. There's nothing between us, but notes in the air," she means to involve the listener intimately. From her poetic, heartfelt lyrics, it is also evident that Martin is fearless in examining her own life challenges openly in this very personal recording. "The truth is what matters, but it's twisted and mired. These bones are yours alone," she confesses.
Her close collaboration with the musicians on People Behave Like Ballads undoubtedly allowed Martin to open up fully in word, on guitar and on vocals. Steve Cardenas, her longtime musical partner, and Ben Monder perform on electric guitar. Peter Rende is on piano, Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer. Frequent collaborators, Bill McHenry and Matt Penman, are on tenor saxophone and bass respectively. Darren Beckett performs on drums. Another likely factor contributing to her natural ease on this MAXJAZZ debut may be her return to country living. Originally from Maine, Martin lived in New York City for ten years before deciding she needed to return to more organic surroundings. She moved to upstate New York, where she lives now with her husband, bassist Larry Grenadier.
Reviews"...she echoes (Joni) Mitchell's depth and authority in her writing. As