(4 / 5)
With the word Delta in the band’s name, you’d be forgiven for expecting this record to be a set of old blues songs from along the Mississippi.
But the truth is, this is unashamedly vintage soul fronted by a skilful singer in Canadian Samantha Martin.
If you dig Northern Soul, Sue Records Hi Records, Stax and Atlantic releases, and bringing it up to date, the releases from the Daptone label, then this is for you.
Samantha has a heck of an instrument with her voice, and at times, she put me in mind of the great PP Arnold. I was half expecting a cover of “First Cut Is The Deepest” here. But no covers – 10 strong originals.
Three penned by Samantha, and then five co-writes with guitarist Curtis Chaffey from her band, one with someone called S. Vinnick, and the closer “All Night Long” written by Martin and Chaffey with bass player and producer Darcy Yates, guitarist Michael McCallum, drummer/percussionist/backing vocalist Dani Nash and keyboard man Steve Mariner.
It’s an 11-piece outfit on this album, two guitarists, bass, drums + backing vox and percussion, keys, two more backing singers, sax’, trumpet and trombone, ably supporting band leader and singer Samantha Martin.
Her honey and razor blades vocals get better as the album proceeds, and she sounds natural and relaxed. Track three: “Will We Ever learn”, Track four: “Wanna Be Your Lover” and track five: “Chasing Dreams” stood out for me, as regards the strength of the songwriting and Samantha’s superb vocal performance.
This is Samantha’s second release, after “Send The Nightingale” in 2016, which topped the Canadian blues charts and achieved five Canadian Maple Blues nominations, propelling the band onto the stages of all the major festivals and clubs coast to coast.
Samantha has been nominated three consecutive years in a row for Female Vocalist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards. In late 2017, the band were selected to represent Toronto at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
The band toured Canada throughout February and are due back to Europe in May and June (subject to the Corona Virus situation at that time, of course).
With this record label releasing the Samantha Martin record at the same time as the cracking release from another belting Canadian singer in Meghan Parnell and her band Bywater Call, I write this review on International Women’s Day and that seems pretty apt to me.
Meghan Markle not the only Royalty knocking about on Canadian soil right now….Ms Parnell and Ms Martin take a bow!
By Simon Redley
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’