Christina Martin Sizzles at Oxford’s Capitol
The key is to be at the right place at the right time. Tonight was the time and the Capitol Theatre in Oxford was the place as Christina Martin filled the classic venue with her amazing voice.
Martin is a thirty-something singer/songwriter who is very hard to describe.
People kept asking me, “What does she sing,” the implication being what genre of music. As the concert built I came to the conclusion that we should not try to limit her in anyway. In fact, you could say she doesn’t sing, she fills the concert hall with her voice.
It was an acoustic masterpiece. When she whispered, you could hear it in the back row. But when she released her ample voice it didn’t offend, but rather bathed the room in comfort.
And speaking of voice, Christina has a smooth, even mellow sound, but she sprinkles a little raspiness into the mix, especially as she powers into the heat of a song with obvious, deep, personal meaning.
She filled the performance with her own compositions or songs co-written with others. While she generally eschews covers of other peoples’ music, she proved fearless with renditions from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and if that doesn’t indicate range, nothing will.
It was an intimate evening, just two guitars and a symmetry with her husband Dale. Christina strummed while he caressed an amplified guitar as if he needed to provide a string section. At times he offered a rock feel, while also hinting at a country steel sound, all magnified by his dexterity with the ‘wa wa bar’.
There is a certain darkness to her music, though she confessed that her writing is finding more comfort in exploring love.
The hallmark of a good concert is often measured by how quickly the time flies, and fly it did.
The program flowed as Christina knitted from one song to the next with an easy going patter. At times she was talking to the audience and at others she was addressing Dale with a kind word along with a kind of nudge nudge, wink wink akin to an in joke. But she delivered so well none of us felt left out. In fact, a lady behind me was heard to say, “The stories, I love those stories.”
Christina Martin is gifted and she deserves to play an amphitheatre, but to listen to her gift, she belongs in a small venue where her intimate and personal style works best.
The next time you hear of a Christina Martin concert, do yourself a favour and be there.