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Guest blog: Martha L Healy – Keep The Flame Alight

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Ahead of her sold out album launch at the Glad Cafe for the Glasgow Americana Festival this week, we’re delighted that the brilliant singer-songwriter, Martha L. Healy, found the time to pen a guest blog for us and has given us a copy of  Keep The Flame Alight for a competition (see our Facebook page for details on how to win). Thanks Martha!

Photographer: Kris Kesiak

Hi folks, my name’s Martha L. (for Laura) Healy and I’m a singer-songwriter from the fine city of Glasgow.

I was born and bred here, with Irish roots, and music has always been a part of my journey. I was raised on a diet of Americana music, before I even knew what that meant! Long journeys on holiday to either Mull of Kintyre or Ireland were great opportunities for me to harmonise with Mum and Dad’s cassette of choice – usually the Eagles, sometimes The Fureys, other times Bruce Springsteen…..on a really good day, Motown’s Greatest Hits….

I’ve always written songs and performed but didn’t have the courage to do so publicly until my early 20s. Fast forward 15 years (or so!) and here I am releasing my second album, Keep The Flame Alight.

The album was written and recorded in that OTHER Music City, Nashville, Tennessee. I was very lucky to record my first album there in 2013 and make some stellar connections and friends in David Spicher, my producer, and his wife, Wendy Newcomer. With the help of Creative Scotland, I saved hard and worked to return to make the record I always wanted to make. I release Keep The Flame Alight on 5th October, with a launch gig at Glasgow Americana Festival on 6th October (The Glad Café Gig is now SOLD OUT) to mark its way into the world.

It is a record made in Nashville, but influenced by my Celtic roots. Thematically, it deals with love, friendship, family, living out your dreams, the need to find a place to call home, as well as the challenges of being a woman in the 21st century.

The album opens with No Place Like Home an ode to home and Scotland…check out the video the talented Kris Kesiak made for me here:

The title of the album is a bit of a mantra for me now, but it came to me several years ago. Keep the Flame Alight talks of the challenges of maintaining both inner creativity and personal wellbeing. I realised that I felt burnt out, emotionally and creatively. I was finding it hard to devote time to music, due to my full-time job, and I was spinning lots of plates and growing frustrated with a lack of time to be creative. I looked around at my friends, family and colleagues and noticed they were all doing the same – trying to keep their own individual flames alight through illness, personal challenges and, more generally, struggling to deal with the pace of life in the 21st century.  I felt I had to explore this theme, and the album was born.

Photographer: Kris Kesiak

I wrote nine out of the ten tracks on the album and co-wrote the other one with Wendy Newcomer. I feel extremely lucky to have some of Music City USA’s best session players on the record: Bill Cooley (guitars/bazouki) has played with everyone from Reba McEntire to Merle Haggard; Todd Lombardo (guitars/mandolin) has played with Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum; Eamon McLoughlin (Fiddle/Strings) is out on the road with Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell when he’s not at the Grand Ole Opry; Dave Racine (Drums) is part of the Jim Lauderdale band; Rory Hoffman has toured with everyone, including Kacey Musgraves; Chas Williams has played with Nanci Griffiths and David Spicher is out on the road with Carlene Carter just now.

The experience of making this record was a magical one for me and I hope – if you take time to listen – that it resonates with you, too.