Martin’s newest record, A House Concert, captures her and her husband, multi-instrumentalist Dale Murray, performing before a welcoming crowd in their home in rural Nova Scotia. Featuring 14 songs that span her three records, Martin’s performance is near flawless. What truly gives the disc its charm is not only the passion that is so obvious in the performance but also the subtle conversations, jokes, etc that intertwine themselves with the performance.
For information on how to get a copy of this terrific record for yourself, head on over to Martin’s website. She has a smattering of live shows coming up over the next few months as well which I would definitely recommend you taking in if you have the chance to do so.
Christina recently took the time to chat with The MusicNerd Chronicles about the making of A House Concert and what the appeal of playing such shows are to her as a performer:
I understand that this show was recorded at your house but overall, there seems to be a growing trend towards artists performing house concerts. What was the appeal of making a live record in home as opposed to a more “traditional” setting like a theatre?
Martin: The appeal for me was recording a show that reflected the majority of performances that we do and that I have been doing for many years. Every now and then I get to play bigger venues, sometimes with my band but the majority of the shows I perform are intimate listening rooms and house concerts. Maybe it will always be that way and I’m cool with that.
Why a home concert as opposed to a theatre though? I guess from the beginning I was only thinking in terms of creating something that promoted House Concerts, because we love doing them, so it made sense to record in a home. And since we have a home studio, I wanted to make use of that for this project. We are only able to work within our means and while it would be lovely to record in a theatre some day, maybe I’ll be ready for that down the road.
In your experience, are audiences more in tune with the performance at a house concert as opposed to other venues?
Martin: It really depends on the venue. I would not say that an audience is more in tune simply because they are at a house concert. Often times people at house concerts are really attentive and hanging on every word. But I have had wonderful experiences performing in front of large audiences where everyone is listening attentively, and I feel an intimate connection with them, even though we are in an arena or a large theatre or a bar. Every venue and performance is different. It’s fun when you can get the attention and have that connection with your audiences, however you have to use your best judgement and can only do so much in certain situations. Sometimes the best thing to do is just shut up and play your songs, but I actually try to avoid playing gigs where I will be just background music mostly because I don’t think I am a good enough musician to be ‘background music’ in the first place. My music is lyric based, and I thrive when I know my audience is interested in what I have to say. I think most artists would prefer to perform to an audience they know is listening.
With a house concert, you can see people’s reactions, you look them in the eyes, sometimes speak directly to them and they respond back between songs. It can be (but isn’t always) a more interactive experience than performing in a larger venue. Some performers get really freaked out by the idea of performing so closely to their audience. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it and have been fortunate to have performed to many attentive and ‘in tune’ audiences across Canada.