I know it is not usual to talk about an artist and review more than one album at a time, but Marti Brom is an inspiration of mine so I just had to make this longer than a one album review.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Marti at a show she did in Wisconsin. I had one of her albums and had wanted to see her perform live for years, so I was excited when I discovered that she would be playing in my area. To say the least, her live show was amazing. In my opinion she is the real deal and a true Rockabilly Queen in the same boat as the likes of Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin and Brenda Lee. If you have never seen her I highly recommend it as her show is excellent from her voice and her songs to her top notch backup band and her fringy western dresses. She can sing any style from straight up rockabilly and classic country to slower ballads and blues. Her voice reminds me of a mix of Patsy Cline, Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin and Brenda Lee; and in my humble opinion is pure perfection for the style and is the epitome of old school country and rockabilly music. Marti was kind enough to give me a couple of her albums so I wanted to do a review, but it was too hard to choose just one since all of her albums are so great. So I decided to focus on two albums that have some of her original songs on them since I am always a big supporter of artists who write their own music. The albums I chose were ”Snake Ranch” and “Wise to You”, both released by Goofin Records.
“Snake Ranch” is a great rockabilly and country album with Marti’s talented backing band ‘The Barnshakers’. The album is full of classic country songs, with sweet pedal steel and Patsy Cline style vocals, like ‘Blue Tattoo’ and ‘You Put It There’; as well as more up-tempo rockabilly and rock-n- roll numbers like ‘Kiss The Baby Goodnight’, ‘No Good Lover’ and Marti’s original song ‘Eat My Words’ which has a very Janis Martin, almost Elvis Presley, feel with rockin’ piano leads reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis and electric guitar that at times reminds me of Chuck Berry. The album also has a lot of jazz and blues influences which can be heard in her original song ‘Cry To Me Baby’ which has a very sultry and smoky Wanda Jackson vibe mixed with Brenda Lee doing ‘Fever’. Marti also does a great rendition of one of my personal favorites to perform at gigs, ‘Black Cadillac’. Every song on the album is great and Marti and her band perform each one with perfection.
The second album “Wise To You”, recorded with two different backing bands (one in Austin, Texas including Nick Curran and the other in Helsinki, Finland), is also full of rockabilly and country songs yet at times has a slightly 60s vibe to it. Classic country songs like ‘Why Are You Saving Your Kisses’ and Marti’s original ‘Whole Lotta Lonesome’ have a very Patsy Cline/Hank Williams feel with the whining pedal steel and the lonesome country lyrics. There are also a lot of upbeat rockabilly tunes like ‘Full Grown’ and ‘Voodoo Voodoo’ as well as Marti’s original ‘Firecracker’ with its catchy chorus of “when I hold him in my arms and squeeze him so tight, he turns from a firework into a stick of dynamite”. This album also has a couple of duets like ‘I Changed My Mind Jack’ where the male vocals are very reminiscent of Ray Charles and ‘You’re The Boss’ where the male vocals sound almost like Elvis Presley. It’s a fun album with a lot of variety and has some songs with a more 60s vibe like ‘That Crazy Beat’ and ‘I Go To Sleep’ which has quite a different sound than any of the other songs on the album. And yet again, like every other Marti Brom album, each song on this album is great. So, if you like artists like Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin and Brenda Lee, make sure to pick up one of Marti’s albums or definitely go see her perform live if she is in your area because you won’t regret it. Marti Brom is one of the few real deal Rockabilly Queens out there today!
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