Track Preview: Jonah from Martha Spencer

Martha Spencer comes by her mountain music roots the old fashioned way. No college-trained folklorist, she lived the life via her family and their Whitetop Mountain Band, performing old time music across the Appalachian region and around the world. At a very young age, Martha was flatfoot dancing and singing in their show, adding her banjo and guitar as soon as she was old enough to play them.

She remains a member of the band today, but is branching out with a solo project of her own, due to hit October 26. A self-titled album, it splits roughly in half between her compositions, and classics of the genre from writers like Hazel Dickens and Bill Carlisle.

As a preview, we offer a track that shows her deep bluegrass roots, inspired by the same music and culture that gave us Ralph Stanley in southwestern Virginia. Those are the same hills that Spencer grew up in, and she delivers the sound as well as any who came before.

She explained a bit about her cut of Jonah

Jonah is one I got from Julia Mainer, I have been a longtime fan of Wade and Julia Mainer. I also loved to hear her sing, she had that old time hardcore sound. And this is a fun song to do with a mouthful of words. I know Julia and Wade played at Appalshop in Kentucky when my parents did. Also a few years back, I wrote back and forth to Julia in a few letters, she was a very nice lady and big musical influence I would say. Alex Leach plays some good ole Stanley style banjo, the multi-instrumentalist, Brennen Ernst, plays bass and I’m on the geetar.”

Pre-orders are available now online for either the CD or download.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.