SAMANTHA MARTIN & DELTA SUGAR – Run To Me – Released on Gypsy Soul Records

This follow up to Samantha’s highly acclaimed debut album Send The Nightingale comprises ten original songs written either mainly by Martin or with fellow singer-songwriter and guitarist Curtis Chaffey. The best feature of this International Blues Challenge representatives 9-piece Toronto based roots, blues and soul ensemble is Samantha’s very distinctive and commanding voice which is the key instrument. Michael McCallum is an accomplished, nimble fingered acoustic and resonator guitar player who makes superb contributions throughout. Sherie Marshall and Mwansa Mwansa provide the harmonies and backing vocals which complement Samantha perfectly.

The opening track You’re The Love is powerful and controlled whilst the equally catchy Gonna Find It introduces the innovative horn section to add more than a dash of soul. The balladic Will We Ever Learn with its sumptuous vocal harmonies and horn arrangement evokes the songwriting style of Carole King. Wanna Be Your Lover is noteworthy for its classic line, “You don’t need to put a ring on it / Baby just put your back into it / Cause I just want to be your lover”! The gospel sounding Chasing Dreams showcases Samantha’s impressive, throat-shredding vocals before she tackles Good Trouble in lighter mood, the latter showcasing Steve Marriner’s fluent keys.

Over You is another soul-drenched slow-burner followed by the catchy sing-along This Night Is Mine. The mood darkens with Only So Much, a serious message about a woman trapped in a bad relationship where the guy has a drink problem and the children go without food. Martin handles the deep emotion with sincerity and genuine feeling. The high energy full in your face big band sound of All Night Long is a fitting conclusion to a highly commendable album.

It is not surprising that Samantha is a rising star in Canada’s eclectic Americana-roots scene and this CD should enhance her reputation more widely.                          

By THE BISHOP