Yesterday saw the release of ‘Keep the Flame Alight’ from the brilliant Martha L. Healy. The album was written and recorded in Nashville, although the ‘home’ Scottish vibe shines through throughout the length of the album.
‘Keep the Flame Alight’ is a wonderful mix of real and honest songs. In some of the tracks Martha sings straight from the heart, while others see her building stories and introducing characters who could be any of us.
‘Woman with No Shame’ (which has shades of Miranda Lambert’s ‘Ugly Lights’ in the theme) tells an incredibly woven but modern tale of a woman trying to find her way, while ‘Unmade Bed’ is another standout track about a couple relighting a flame for a final time – these songs follow each other on the album and you do wonder if the female in the latter is the central character from the former.
You’ll know the album is something special from the opening track ‘No Place Like Home’, a song about travelling back to her native Scotland, but a song that we can all relate to wherever we come from (below).
The title track ‘Keep the Flame Alight’ is a gorgeous song, which you’ll find inspirational, even if it’s not obvious from the start. Martha explains – “There are times I feel burnt out of ideas, no songs are happening, I don’t want to gig and I’d prefer to hibernate. Then I thought about this and realised this is just life for so many people. We are all trying to keep our individual flames alight every single day. I’ve always been drawn to water and earth elements but 2016 was the year I say I ignited my inner fire. I had some tough life lessons to learn that year and I had to extinguish some things from my life and hold on to the good people and the good stuff. ”
‘We Will Be Okay’ takes a look at the current world political climate, without needing to get overly political to get the message across. ‘It feels like we’ve just woken up from a terrible dream, and the things I believed are never what they seemed, but as long as I’ve got the will to give more love and mercy and grace than before, we can never really lose‘. A beautiful song.
The album ends perfectly with a song where she pleads with a friend ‘Don’t Give Up’, knowing that the friend is indeed strong enough to make it through their pain – and she’ll do all she can to help.
‘Keep the Flame Alight’ is a truly wonderful album from start to finish. With real emotions, real people and real stories coming through in spades via Martha L. Healey’s emotive vocals, you’ll find it difficult to find a better album from these shores in 2018.