Known primarily as a trombonist with the brilliant gypsy folk ‘n’ roll group Holy Moly & The Crackers, Martha Hill has ventured back out on her own with the launch of a brand new single, the stupendously affecting Blue Moon.
Caressed by delicately spaced chords, the track’s simplicity allows Martha’s enthralling voice to flourish; backed by gentle guitar, which weaves around Martha’s voice – at once exotically jazzy and soulfully sensual – it’s a chilled out track which carries the listener on a wave of atmospheric nostalgia.
The lyrics conjure up images of a girl with wanderlust, and Martha agrees that her stints touring with her Holy Moly… bandmates, sharing music with strangers and sleeping in weird places has informed her writing. “Most of my time in the past few years has been spent travelling around Europe busking and playing, I’ve done little gigs in France and Portugal, Gran Canaria and Spain, and I’ve also busked a lot in Newcastle, but this is the first concrete thing that I’ve decided to do.”
Having previously released material under the name of Martha Wheatley, her 2014 EP At First Glance was a schizophrenic affair, morphing from reggae to rap, folk to flamenco. It seems that now Martha’s settled back into home life, she’s ready to put down more steady creative roots. “The point of this project is all about creating; it’s really journey based, that’s my philosophy, I don’t really have a big destination that I’m trying to get to, I’m really just doing things that I enjoy doing, taking things one step at a time and seeing where it takes me.”
Most of my time in the past few years has been spent travelling around Europe busking and playing
That doesn’t mean she’ll be sticking to one genre any time soon though, and she’s enjoying a period of collaboration that is influenced by everything from Tom Waits to Alabama Shakes. “I’m in the process of writing and arranging at the moment with a woman called Ceitidh [pronounced Katie] Mac who’s a really talented cellist from the folk degree in Newcastle. We are recording stuff in the new year with a local producer called Dario Lozano-Thornton, it’s gonna be lo-fi, live feel stuff.”
With an EP on the horizon in the Spring, for now Martha’s happy to enjoy the journey without worrying about the destination. “I’m not particularly shopping around for any kind of label, I’m just getting a portfolio of music and experience together. I want to do stuff creatively rather than financially.”
She’ll be officially launching Blue Moon at Newcastle’s Jazz Café on Thursday 15th December, accompanied by Ceitidh on cello. It’ll be a must-attend gig if you’re in the market for honestly beautiful music with genuine soul and a voice that’ll knock you sideways.