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Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Carol Martini's First CD in Six Years: Songs of the Girl on the Swing

Carol Martini's latest CD Songs of the Girl on the Swing (available for purchase on CD Baby) might be more appropriately titled Songs of the Girl With the Guitar. For that's the musical universe Martini comfortably inhabits, singing her own compositions, accompanying herself on guitar, in California coffeehouses. Except her alternative-style songs deserve a much broader audience.
Fortunately she also makes (and markets) her own independent recordings, with Girl on a Swing being her third CD of the twentieth-first century. It's her first since Petals of the Red Magnolia (2010) which followed Rose in the Boxcar (2005, named by the Orange County Register as one of "OC's Best of the Best"). Martini also, in the nineties, made three old-fashioned vinyl albums that are now rare collectibles.
Her two previous CDs were deeply personal tributes to the memories of her parents--Red Magnolia for her mother and Boxcar for her father. By contrast this album's nineteen songs represent a return to the romance of her earlier works. It's a simple collection of love songs, some plaintive, but many with a wry sense of humor.
One such song is "Because that Man's Still Here," in which the singer laments that guy that just won't go away no matter what:  "So I sit in this bar, night after night, crying in my beer, not because he's left me but because that man's still here." (At least she can get away long enough to cry in a bar.) It's the kind of song to sing along to, sooth heartache to, and and perhaps put one's own creative spin on. It's one of Martini's best songs ever.
Swing concludes with another highlight, "Won't You Please Come Home" which paints a word picture of a broken relationship so much that we feel we're living it right along with her--or living through our own breakups and losses along with her.
Unfortunately some of the songs here aren't given the proper musical showcase. Daniel Martin and Lewis Richards are the credited musicians, and they play well, but much of the backing sounds like it came from a computer. If only the musical accompaniment could have shown the same wit and variety as the lyrics.
For more about Carol Martini and her music:
www.carolmartini.net
www.markwebermusicblog.com
www.indie-spoonful.com
CD Baby

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