Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 4, No. 3, 2005

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Montreal Jazz Festival 2005







Piano Keyboard


by Robert J. Lewis

Featured artist: MARTHA WAINWRIGHT
© Rich Hanson

The publicity image steals our love of ourselves as we are and offers it back to us for the price of the product. John Berger

Martha Wainwright pours herself into song writing like Van Gogh poured himself into self-portraits. The more I listen, the more I become convinced that had Vincent been exposed to Martha’s magnificent music, he would be alive and well today -- ‘singing in the rain.’

At the ancient age of 28, Martha has just released her first album entitled Martha Wainwright. Why did it take her so long? Because sometimes that’s how long it takes -- and not because Canadians hibernate six months every winter. For the record, we don’t hibernate, but ‘suffer’ (exponentially) our climate gladly.

© Les CosgroveMartha’s music is about Martha’s war – which is the war we’re all waging against the imposition of cultural values that turn us against ourselves, that insist we spend our lives trying to measure up instead of becoming who we are, and coerce us to judge ourselves according to standards that gladly sacrifice what remains of our individuality on the altar of the ideal-self.jpg proposed by TV and ad culture. But what do you do if you don’t fit the mould, if you just can’t cut it?

If you’re gifted like Martha Wainwright, you take the negative by the neck and rework it into track #1, track #2, track #3, or for as long as it takes until the person you see when you look into the mirror finally says: I’m OK with that because that’s who I am.

And that’s why we’re listening.

Martha’s lyrics are a gift of harrowing honesty, delivered in a voice that is just as likely to falter as soar, where the constant struggle against self-doubt is redeemed by the sheer beauty of her singing and song writing.

Listen to Martha sing the very haunting THESE FLOWERS



Jimi Hendrix
Joni Mitchell
Stevie Wonder
Neil Young
John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
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