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L.A. Beat

Samantha Martin and the Haggard blend soul and country music across Canada this summer

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Toronto based musician Samantha Martin is enjoying successful summer full of excellent shows across Canada. She and guitarist Mikey McCallum aka Samantha Martin and the Haggard come to the Slice, Aug. 23.
“ It’s been a great little tour,” said the Edmonton born  Martin from a tour stop in Winnipeg.Samantha Martin and the haggard come to Lethbridge, Aug. 23. Photo by Gerry Lebrun
“We’ve played a lot of festivals and they have been fantastic,” she said.

“ We just played the Trout Forest Music Festival (in Ear Falls, in Northern Ontario). It is a smaller festival, and it was very relaxing so were were able to be very relaxed before we went on stage,” she continued.

“And the Dream Cafe in Penticton was exceptional. They've all been great for a hundred different reasons.”
She noted the band sounds like a blend of traditional country music,  folk and  the darker side of gospel music.
“ We sound like a mix of  The Staples Singers and The Black Keys. We play a little bit of everything from classic county to the blues and even a little gospel,” she said. While she sometimes travels with a larger group including three back-up singers, she will only be bringing Mikey McCallum for their Lethbridge show.

“ I’ve been working with him in various capacities for the last six years,” she said.
 She is excited  to visit Lethbridge for the first time.
“ I’ve been trying to get into the Slice for years but it has always been booked. But Romi Mayes  booked this particular  tour and she got us in,” she continued.

 She has released three albums including  a in 2008  called “ Back Home,” another album with the eight piece band  the Haggard  in 2012  and a new EP called “ Dark Angel” which she released earlier this year.

“ So I’ll be playing songs from all three albums and some  songs I just wrote,” she said.
 She  noted she was attracted to gospel music because of the harmonies.

“ I’m not  an overly  religious  person. But I always liked gospel  with three part vocal harmonies and maybe a guitar and lots of foot stomping and hand clapping,” she said.
“ So it's not gospel like ‘Jesus save me,’ but  more why do bad things happen and why does the  good Lord and Jesus let them,” she continued.
“It's kind of dark. It makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck. it's just beautiful,” she said.

 She grew up in a small town on the Bruce Peninsula in Southern Ontario, but is now based out of Toronto.
“ I’ve been there for eight or nine years. Mikey has been there for most of his life. It is a good , central location. Everything is just a plane ride away, but Winnipeg would be a close second,” she said.


“It has very close music community and very supportive. I like it,” she said.

She  spent a little time in Nashville in January over New Years, but really wanted to go to Mississippi, the home of the blues. Unfortunately she never made it.

“ My van broke down and I  spent all of my money getting it fixed and getting everybody home,” she said adding she didn’t get to spend as much time as she would have liked  to  spend in Nashville. She brought a friend along to shoot video of her their experiences there, which she posted on her website
“ They're called Road Sugar. They're just fun little stories,” she said.

“ I was being a tourist. I wanted to  maybe sit down and do some co-writing with people. If I had stayed for a couple of weeks, I  might have got all of that touristy stuff out of my system and got into  that headspace,” she continued.

“ I really wanted to go to Clarkdale , Mississippi— the crossroads and blues legend,” she said.
“ I thought that would be a good place to  sit down and write some songs. Nashville is nice, but it's too much city. There's too many distractions. There is a little less hustle in Mississippi,” she said.
The show begins at 9:30 p.m. at the Slice, Aug. 23.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 August 2014 10:34 )  
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