Rebecca Martin with Riverkeeper’s Captain John Lipscomb at Lock 4 patrolling the Mohawk River, one of the largest tributaries of the Hudson River Photo credit: Dan Shapley
For the past couple of years, Rebecca Martin as an organizer and advocate has split her time between KingstonCitizens.org (as founder and lead organizer), Riverkeeper (where she was promoted to Campaign Manager for the Water Quality Program led by director Dan Shapley) and most recently hired by the formidable Judith Enck, senior advisor at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. Appointed by President Obama, Enck served as the Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overseeing environmental protection in NY, NJ, eight Indian Nations, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands. Working with a staff of 800 and managing a $700 million budget, she secured a number of environmental accomplishments during her tenure at the EPA.
Rebecca will join Judith and her team at Beyond Plastics in September, a nationwide project based at Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, that pairs the wisdom and experience of environmental policy experts with the energy and creativity of college students to build a vibrant and effective anti-plastics movement. Their mission is to “end plastic pollution by being a catalyst for change at every level of our society. We use our deep policy and advocacy expertise to build a well-informed, effective movement seeking to achieve the institutional, economic, and societal changes needed to save our planet, and ourselves, from the plastic pollution crisis.”
Music in 2020
Rebecca continues to make music, and in January of 2020, she will team up again with Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos (OJM) in Lisbon, Portugal this time to record a set of standards with the bassist Larry Grenadier.
Martin and Grenadier will also perform a special duo concert at the Wiener Konzerthaus Mozart Hall in Vienna, Austria on January 17th.
To learn more, visit:
Once Blue is a bit of a long ago dream. Some 25 years ago I came to New York City from the state of Maine, landing in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan with the songwriter Jesse Harris and a young Ben Street, Kurt Rosenwinkelkel and Jim Black. Later, Kenny Wolleson, Steve Cardenas and Bill Dobrow would join us. It was a vibrant time for songwriting, and a fortunate start for us in the city.
What you are about to hear is a 22 year old recording of a live board mix at the height of our music making. We were a very young band on the road, spending much of our time touring the country to open for popular acts that included Lisa Loeb, Shawn Colvin, Squeeze, Emmylou Harris and others. Rolling into the Handlebar in South Carolina on January 19th, 1996 for our own concert was a refreshing and creative respite.
I was happy to find this performance of our group tucked away in a box for decades. Long before social media, music relied on miles and miles of performances in order to be heard. Although Once Blue was an influential band in New York City in the early 90’s, there isn’t anything available that has captured who we were as a live band which was one of our strengths. I’m pleased to be able to share this with you. It is my wish that you will enjoy our collaboration from long ago.
“…Martin’s sound is literally impossible to categorize. Through her voice, she makes every song a tapestry of word and sound that captures the subtlest of emotions and reveals observations of life that many of us miss in our daily trek….Rebecca Martin is indeed an artist that stands alone, both as a singer and as a compassionate human being.” John Schoenberger, AAA Track. From “The Independence of Rebecca Martin” READ
Rebecca Martin’s first solo recording “Thoroughfare” (1998) is now available on vinyl! To celebrate the upcoming Japanese release 0n Disk Union (February 21st), there are a limited number of signed copies available to purchase ($40 + shipping/handling costs).
Rebecca Martin – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Steve Cardenas – Electric and Acoustic Guitar
Larry Grenadier – Acoustic and Electric Bass
Kenny Wolleson – Drums, Percussion, Harmonium, Marimba, Vibraphone
Side – A
- Goodbye My Love (Harris) LISTEN
- Your Arms Around Me Now (Martin/Harris)
- Thoroughfare (Martin/Harris)
- Arthur (Martin) LISTEN
- Empty Hands (Martin)
Side – B
- All Day Long I’ve Been Crying (Harris)
- 4th and Cornelia (Martin/Moore)
- Joey (Martin/Harris)
- At Different Times (Sexsmith)
- The Red Wall (Martin/Harris)
Questions? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Martin’s week as the guest artist with the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos in Portugal and Spain was a success with great reviews and the possibility of a recording and additional future concert dates.
Casa de Musica’s Video Interview of Rebecca Martin and Pedro Guedes
READ: “Rebecca Martin: A Singer Who Sounds at Home”
“Catskill Waters, a watershed-related community art project, is holding a fundraiser on October 14 that artist Keiko Sono of Bearsville describes as a hybrid of “a multi-media art project, culinary bliss, and a social and economic experiment.” Expect artworks made of ice, gourmet dishes prepared the former owner of Chanterelle in Manhattan, and unusual in a fundraiser income for participating artists….A four-course dinner will be prepared by David Waltuck, owner of the legendary Chanterelle, which operated in Manhattan from 1979 to 2009. Although it was one of the city’s most expensive restaurants, Chanterelle was famous for the warm welcome Waltuck and his wife gave to guests. The New Yorker journalist Adam Gopnik described his meal there as “a three-hour engineered transcendence of the mundane.” Every six months, a new menu cover would be designed by folks including John Cage, Edward Albee and Francesco Clemente. Several original menus from the Chanterelle collection will be exhibited. Sono has asked seven local artists to design menu covers, which will be on display and on sale.”
The banquet will honor Rebecca Martin, a founder of KingstonCitizens.org. Through the work of Martin and other activists, the proposal to build a bottling plant using Cooper Lake water was withdrawn.”
VIEW: Catskill Waters Website for more information.
The Upstate Project (Release date: April 14, 2017)
The Upstate Project’s website for more information
The Upstate Project is a landmark collaboration that unites a group of world-class musicians who’ve already distinguished themselves in their individual creative pursuits.
Rebecca Martin is widely recognized as one of her generation’s most talented and versatile vocalists and songwriters, effortlessly bridging the world’s of jazz and songwriting while working alongside some of the music’s most esteemed players. Argentine-born pianist-vocalist-composer-arranger Guillermo Klein is renowned throughout the jazz world for his inventive, eclectic compositional approach and his distinctive harmonic sensibility. Their rhythm section is composed of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, two of jazz’s most in-demand players.
The four participants’ distinctive talents interact in unexpected and inspiring ways on The Upstate Project, which offers exquisite, gently intoxicating melodies, vivid, haunting lyrics, and effortless instrumental interactions.
Martin’s compositions “On A Sunday Morning,” “To Up and Go” and “Later On They’ll Know” (the latter co-written by Ron Sexsmith) embody the lyrical insight and melodic craft for which she’s become known, while Klein’s “Llorando Fuerte (Like Every Other Day),” “Ahi Viene El Tren (Just As In Spring),” “Outside It Rains for Them” and “Hora Libre” (Thrones and Believers)” demonstrate his knack for melodic resonance while merging his Spanish lyrics with Martin’s English ones.
Martin also adds evocative new lyrics for to some notable instrumentals, reinventing and expanding Bill Frisell’s “Throughout [Hold On],” Brad Mehldau’s “Ode [To Make The Most Of Today]” and Kurt Rosenwinkel’s “Cycle 5 [Freedom Run],”), as well as Grenadier’s “State of the Union [In The Nick Of Time].”
The Upstate Project—so named due to the partnership’s origins in northern New York state—began to come together when Martin contacted Klein to explore the possibility of making music together.
“Guillermo is someone that I hold in high esteem,” Martin states. “Working with him was something I had hoped to do at some point in my career. I am always seeking a real challenge in music, and I knew that his point of view would provide that. When I reached out to him, I learned that he had just returned to the States from Argentina and was living in upstate New York, only about 40 minutes away from where I was. Like the old days.
“What the project would be wasn’t clear initially,” says Martin. “But shortly after coming together, Guillermo suggested that it be collaborative, and I loved that idea. It gave me the opportunity to think about lyrics for his songs, which opened up a lot of possibilities as we brought material to the table.”
“We exchanged tunes and then got together to play at my house,” Klein recalls. “The repertoire grew, as I suggested a Kurt Rosenwinkel tune and she suggested the other ones. I spent time transcribing and arranging them for a group, and she found guitar parts and wrote the lyrics and harmonized voices.”
It was only natural that Martin’s husband Grenadier and frequent collaborator Ballard would come on board to complete the quartet.
“Rebecca and I have played music together for 20 years, as long as we’ve known each other,” Grenadier notes. “For me, there is nothing like making music with your partner; the level of empathy and intimacy is unmatched. I’ve known Guillermo for many years and have always been a fan of his arranging and composing, and thought that he and Rebecca shared some of the same musical imperatives in the realm of color and texture. So the idea of blending this all together seemed very intriguing and also very natural.”
“I have known all of these folks for more than two decades, and I love them and their music,” Ballard adds. “This project was simply a continuation of these fruitful relationships.”
The musicians allowed the material to develop in its own time.
“Rebecca, Guillermo and I started getting together and playing the songs,” Grenadier says. “It was like an archeological dig, finding the core of each one and bringing that to the surface. It was a slow process but very organic as they both so beautifully are. We performed a string of dates in New York City as a trio, to continue to flesh out the material and to tighten up the sound.”
“Larry, Guillermo and I had played this music for a year before Jeff arrived,” Martin explains. “Since he lives in Europe now, Jeff could only get to New York in time to record, and after one rehearsal, we went into the studio with Pete Rende, who recorded, helped to produce and steer the ship.”
The Upstate Project’s songs are a genuine collaboration, allowing Martin and Klein to explore different aspects of their talents.
“Guillermo’s music stirs up emotions that are very different from what my own melodies and harmony ever could, and that alone made it possible to explore other worlds,” Martin says. “I built stories from some very unusual perspectives. The lyrics in my own songs tend to be bittersweet. In Guillermo’s music, I found myself exploring darker points of view. It was a liberating experience for that reason, as it’s important to venture outside of your comfort zone whenever you can.”
“For me, all these songs show the idea of melody reigning supreme.” Grenadier asserts. “All the arrangements, sound and solos support the melodies, lifting them up so they shine brighter. The melodies of these songs are so strong, and as a musician, I didn’t want to get in the way of that. I wanted the music to lift up these melodies.”
Having allowed The Upstate Project’s birth cycle to unfold in its own time, Martin and Klein are keeping an open mind about the possibility of future group activity.
“I am just glad this music is recorded.” says Klein, “It feels like a complete cycle.”
“I like to think about music and life in general like swimming in a lake,” she concludes. “You know when walking into the deep, there are suddenly warm spots that appear to come out of nowhere. There is never anything predictable in my creative endeavors or their outcome. I just keep pressing forward knowing that at some point, that mysterious warm spot will appear again where I can hang out for a while—until it gets cold and it’s time to move along again.”
The Upstate Project (Release date: April 14, 2017)
The Upstate Project’s website for more information
Now you can purchase the Tillery recording, a collaborative project by Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens on Band Camp.
4 1/2 Stars in Downbeat Magazine (October, 2016)
“Our group’s initial objection was that an enormous amount of the city of Kingston’s public water supply—1.75 million gallons per day—was to be sold to a bottling company to bottle and to sell without enough evidence that our water source could maintain that amount over the long haul,” she explained. “We were also disturbed that a multimillion-dollar corporation was allowed to purchase our water at a fraction of what local residents and businesses pay.” Generations of families in the area had invested in the local water infrastructure for a century, but, without warning, a water board could decide what would happen to a public resource without consulting the community. Martin and her fellow-activists began organizing public meetings to make residents aware of what was happening, and they went to meetings of the Kingston Common Council and Kingston Water Board to interrogate members on their decision-making. “That’s what we were managing—from my bedroom,” Martin said, laughing.
READ Full Article in The New Yorker