First impressions mean so much. You walk into an unfamiliar coffee shop and it is full of zombies. You know straight away that you have made the right choice as they undoubtedly serve coffee strong enough to raise the dead so, with all that in mind, what are you to make of an album which has a cover featuring some old guy in a check shirt standing on a beach?
You might well think that this would be an album that would look backwards for musical inspiration and that is pretty much true of “Martha” by Dougie Burns. As you listen to these songs, you hear the ghosts of the past both in terms of his style and, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the lyrics as reflection on what was features in many of his words. From that evidence, it is easy to conclude that this album is more of a personal project than an attempt to capture commercial success.
In the album’s favour is the honesty of the words and obvious affection for those musical styles of the past with gospel infused “Arms of Our Father” and bluesy “Coffee” resonating with the faith of a believer in the ways of days gone by. “Martha” isn’t, therefore, the kind of album to make your heart beat faster – and it may, in fact, be medically inadvisable for that to happen to you – but it is the kind of album that feels real.
Looks like there is life in the old dog yet.