Well, since I haven't blogged anything here for awhile, I figured I'd make two entries today. Another artist that I don't think has had a fair shake in America is Jeff Martin, or his previous band, the Tea Party. They put out 7 very good CDs off their label and 1 previous to being signed. The unfortunate turn of events that led to the band's demise will, I'm sure, never be fully realized because I'm sure all three of them have varying stories as to why exactly it happened. The main reason seems to be that Jeff wanted to get back to the roots of what his music (and, ultimately, the Tea Party's music) was all about. His first outing as a solo artist brings us Exile and the Kingdom, a sweet blend of his Rock-meets-World music stylings of the Tea Party with the acoustic leanings that he has expressed in interest in as of late. With the first song on the disc being the orchestral 'The World is Calling', one might be questioning whether it was a departure from the Tea Party's music Jeff needed or just a departure from his bandmates, as this stands up with the best of what the Tea Party offered (and feels like a continuation from their 4th CD, Triptych). Indeed, even the bluesy 'Black Snake Blues' feels like a throwback to their 2nd disc, Edges of Twilight. But anyone who's heard Jeff in interviews will know that's what he was going for in the first place. The songwriting on the rest of the disc is very fresh -- a logical growth between their rock opus, Seven Circles, and this record. The fact that it's a great mix of electric and acoustic numbers and the fact that Michael Lee (of Page and Plant fame) is on drums makes this CD even better.
Martin talks about the next CD being completely acoustic, but he said that about this one as well. The good thing about Jeff is that he's constantly evolving and that will always be his greatest strength. It will also be why he will remain at the forefront of iconic musicians of this age.