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Christina Martin
Sleeping With a Stranger
CD on Marz Records
Cat No: MARL007 , Stk Ref 79488

Released on: 13 August 2012

Magazine Review
There are those albums that you just know from the very first few seconds that you hear the opening song that it’s going to be something special.

‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ is Canadian singer-songwriter Christina Martin’s sixth album. It appears that Christina is not only developing with each album, but every release is just that little bit better than the one than preceded it.

While the talented musician penned all twelve songs on her latest album (two of the songs are co-writes), mention should be made of the contribution of Christina’s husband Dale Murray who produced this latest set and played a host of instruments. The chances are that if you’re a fan of alt-country/Americana then you’ll already have a number of albums that feature Murray and probably not realise it. Apart from his solo work and that with his latest band, Cuff The Duke, check out the credits on albums by the Guthries, both Ruth and Gabe Minnikin and the Heavy Blinkers, you’ll find that Murray has made excellent contributions to all of these artists and his sound is all over ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’.

But Christina excels at a couple of things which make sure that the listener is in no doubt that although she has the talents of her partner backing her, ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ is very much a Christina Martin album. As soon as the opening strums of the acoustic guitar that introduces the album on ‘Water It’ give way to Christina’s voice you’re won over. Crystal clear, pure and believable, there’s warmth in Christina’s vocals that draws you in immediately. Almost, but not quite, in the cutesy little girl lost vocal school, it has to be said that there are quite definite shades of Susanna Hoffs in Christina’s vocal style, although Christina’s higher pitch make her vocals even more appealing than those of the Bangle. It’s strange that until ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ came along the album that was most played around these parts was Hoffs' newie, ‘Someday’.

Christina’s other ace is her songwriting ability. One of those songwriters who doesn’t just string lines of words together, each and every one of these songs tells a story, but most importantly Christina has that rare talent of making the characters in her story-songs believable. Couple that voice that will melt your heart with those honest tales, wrap them up in a warm, sympathetic production from Dale Murray and you can’t fail.

Fading love that needs nurturing is the topic of ‘Water It’ and it’s the perfect introduction to Christina’s musical world. The song has a chorus that is impossible not to like. The wall of acoustic guitars drives the chorus along and the background vocals are simply superb. Nice touches like the banjo on it show that producer Murray knows exactly how to bring out the best in Christina’s songs. It’s an uplifting way to start the album.

While there are darker moments and sounds on some of these songs, like the title track, about searching and trying to find your way in life, Christina never loses sight of an appealing melody. Often it’s the melody that pulls you in along with the sound of Christina’s voice, and sometimes it takes a listen or two to fully appreciate just what a remarkable lyricist this Canadian is.

‘Marina’ is one of the best character songs on ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’. Again a song about love and searching it’s accompanied by sterling guitar work from Murray again adding the required darkness and texture to Christina’s pretty melodies which stops the listener from ever getting tired of the song.

There are songs that owe more to classic pop than to the folk-country genre that many feel Christina belongs in. Christina is one of those artists who straddle many different styles to create a sound that is new and refreshing. ‘Sally’, a tale about a waitress who left her unfaithful partner to start over in another town with her kids, could have been a depressing ride in a less talented artist’s hands, but Christina fills the song with grace and will have you rooting for Sally to find her way to a better life. Of course with a typical irresistible Christina melody and Murray’s guitars weeping all over the song you can’t fail to be touched.

Without a duff song in sight, ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ is thirty-seven minutes of perfection. It’s hard to recommend just one song to try if Christina Martin is a new name to you but try ‘What I Always New’ where the dual vocals of Christina and Murray sound like they are fronting The Byrds; it’s a brilliant piece of work.

Malcolm Carter


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Visitor Reviews

Rating: 5 - Christina Martin- Music Video- Falling For You
Reviewed By: Christina Martin
From: Port Howe NS

Just wanted to send a link for my new music video ,and to say THANKS for this review of my new album.

Christina Martin- Falling For You: http://youtu.be/s3JsKbZ8f0w


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