At A Glance:
“Martin’s evocative voice hovers playfully betwixt Patsy Cline and Dinah Washington.” ~ Rick Koster
“the music is a little dirty, a little dangerous but a hell of a good time.” ~ Chip McCabe
“In a jazz-tinged voice ever-so-subtly reminiscent of Patsy Cline, Daphne Lee Martin displays her vast musical, and often geographical, journey throughout this collection of self authored material.” ~ Don Dimuccio
“Let’s Stay In Bed All Day” is punchy, and equal to anything Dr. John might have conjured up in his voodoo lair. This horn-driven number has a classic standard feel which stays in your head for days.”~ Vincent Bator, Examiner.com
“Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent, “Dig & Be Dug” (The Telegraph Recording Company). New London resident Martin digs vintage sounds on her debut, from dusty borderland meditations to hints of Dixieland and old-school country. She’s at her best on the torchy tunes, singing in sultry tones over blasts of Mariachi-style trumpet on “Old Guitar” and murmuring wistfully on the waltz-time “Saratoga Rain.”” ~Eric Danton, The Hartford Courant
“In Lieu of Flowers” is a perfect example of Daphne Lee Martin’s strong songwriting chops, as well as her predilection for combining Old Timey melody with contemporary imagery” ~ Don Dimuccio
“With her strong writing style and sultry vocal delivery, Martin has you in the palm of her hand from track one…” ~ Troy Michael
CT.com listed us among their top 15 Albums of 2011, “New London’s queen of smokey bar room Americana leads here band of troubadours through a full album of awesomeness.” Check out the site here!
Praise for ‘Dig & Be Dug’
By Vincent Bator for Examiner.com 2/10/12 Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent, Dig & Be Dug (The Telegraph Recording Company) As record store owner, music label executive and frontwoman for the Americana roots music outfit, Daphne Lee Martin and Raise the Rent, Daphne Lee Martin wears many hats that thankfully revolve around her musical passions. An extraordinary musical talent and impresario on the New London, CT scene, Martin’s star is rising. A favorite of the café scene, her material has resided squarely in a cabaret environ, but now Martin and her band have outgrown those confines and settled comfortably into rock clubs. Martin’s latest release is a heady brew of countrypolitan, swing, New Orleans-style jazz and roots-lite. The music and the band are topnotch and the arrangements are stellar. Martin’s voice is a little bit thin, however, to match the gymnastics and energy of the material. That isn’t a deal breaker. A happy codicil to this is “Saratoga Rain,” where Martin abandon’s her pretense and sings from the heart. A weeping, slide guitar confection in which Martin fully embraces the music to her advantage, she allows the nascent grittiness of the guitar chords to subsume her general stilted vocals.
“Let’s Stay In Bed All Day” is punchy, and equal to anything Dr. John might have conjured up in his voodoo lair. This horn-driven number has a classic standard feel which stays in your head for days. The closing track, “Nostradamus” is a delightful surprise ending to what in general, is a fairly pleasant listening experience. This reviewer won’t give away the ending — but pay attention to it.
By Eric Danton for the Hartford Courant’s Sound Check 1/9/12 Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent, “Dig & Be Dug” (The Telegraph Recording Company). New London resident Martin digs vintage sounds on her debut, from dusty borderland meditations to hints of Dixieland and old-school country. She’s at her best on the torchy tunes, singing in sultry tones over blasts of Mariachi-style trumpet on “Old Guitar” and murmuring wistfully on the waltz-time “Saratoga Rain.”
By Adam Wujtewicz for WailingCity.Com 10.24.11 “There is a certain amount of struggle between modernizing a style of music in order to evolve the genre and staying true to the roots and original intention of it. This struggle is especially true when you’re playing Jazz, Country and or Folk. There are Jazz purists that would call the music of Cecil Taylor noise, Country purists that say Hank III is a disgrace to the family name and Folk purists that still curse the name Bob Dylan. With Dig & Be Dug, Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent have made it clear that they have no intentions to playing to the purists. There are 4 Tom Waits-esque songs that land somewhere between The Heart of Saturday Night and Blue Valentine that set up the framework for the album. They have a loungey vibe but with an electric and more lush instrumentation. The intricate mix takes the songs out of the smoky basement bar and puts them on the silver screen. It’s not so much about the authenticity of the sound as it is using the sound to tell a story with grand, vivid images. The other songs on Dig & Be Dug run the gamut between the southern swing pop of “Pull My Daisy” to the New Orleans trumpeting of “In Lieu of Flowers” and floating country ballad “Saratoga Rain”. Confused on how these sounds all fit together? The simple answer is Daphne Lee Martin. Her voice and charisma pull you through the album easing your mind about the different sounds and structures you’re hearing behind her. There is a full range of emotion on the album but Daphne never loses composure and allows a boisterous chorus to pull her out of her range or a somber verse to dull her to whisper, she shows control rather than restraint. The work ethic of both Daphne and her orchestra of Americana musicians shine like a beacon to those wondering how to make a good album. The sounds on Dig & Be Dug are not a shot in the dark. These are the sounds of effort, vision and drive.”
Innocent Words Magazine ~ by Troy Michael 2.23.12
I seriously think Daphne Lee Martin was born about 50 years too late. Or maybe she and her backing band, Raise the Rent, traveled back in time and bottled up the aura of Sarah Vaughan, Patsy Cline and a beautiful senorita down Mexico way.
Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent’s latest Dig& Be Dug, is phenomenally beautiful wrapped in its retro cocoon of simplicity. With her strong writing style and sultry vocal delivery, Martin has you in the palm of her hand from track one of this 11 track release. Her backing band is equally astute as they provide string arrangements, banjo’s French horns and an array of sparsely played acoustic instruments.
As a cohesive unit Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent, has the talent to take you down to dusty Old Mexico with opening track “Rosalita” then make you feel like you are sitting front row center at the Grand Old Opry with “Pull My Daisy.” “In Lieu of Flowers.” transforms you to a back alley Chicago bar sipping whiskey with John Dillinger in tow…and this is all within the first four songs.
There is a song at the end of Dig & Be Dug entitled “Let’s Stay In Bed All Day” and this is what you would want to do on a lazy Sunday morning while listening to Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent. Sometimes retro simplicity is a thing of beauty.”
by Don DiMuccio for Motif Magazine 11.03.11 “I’ve been sitting with the latest CD release from Connecticut-based musical alchemists Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent, desperately attempting to come up with some clever catch-all phrase that will accurately describe the 10-track offering, and thus in the process do it justice. Sure, the words Americana and rootsy immediately come to mind. But the broad interpretations of those genres prove inadequate after putting Dig & Be Dug in the CD player, or on the turntable as the case may be, vis`- a-vis´ a limitededition blue vinyl LP. But I’m getting ahead of myself here…. In a jazz-tinged voice ever-so-subtly reminiscent of Patsy Cline, Daphne Lee Martin displays her vast musical, and often geographical, journey throughout this collection of self authored material. Raised on the indigenous musics of the American heartland such as fiddle infused bluegrass, Appalachian folk and white gospel, the Ohio native began her career at 17, recording an album of traditional songs with her mother. Soon thereafter, armed with little else than her guitar, Daphne left hometown familiarity behind and began a musical expedition in quest of further inspiration. Her sojourn initially led her to New York City, where she quickly assimilated into the local folk music community. Working now with experienced folk artisans through live shows and songwriting workshops, her sharpened skills parlayed into a steady gig on the open seas. Singing on vessels which traveled around the four corners of the country, Martin, like Guthrie and Seeger before her, continued the true folk tradition of musical troubadour. Quite a musical journey indeed. And all of this serves as both backdrop and backstory to “Dig & Be Dug,” which begins slightly off kilter, with a rumba entitled “Rosalita.” The least convincing song in the lot, the track’s melody and chord changes seem somewhat predictable, resulting in lounge music fare. However, things immediately turn for the better with a bluegrass-inspired twostep “Pull My Daisy.” The authentic barn dance romp would have almost certainly been deemed risque in 1920’s America, “I won’t stay lonesome long, not with all that I’ve got going on – stuff so good make a dead man want to… ” “In Lieu of Flowers” is a perfect example of Daphne Lee Martin’s strong songwriting chops, as well as her predilection for combining Old Timey melody with contemporary imagery: “June is holding a smoking gun over the dying breath of May – It’s a piss yellow moon and I’ve been crying wolf..” Any review of “Dig & Be Dug” would be remiss if it did not point out the near-perfect musicianship provided by the disc’s backing band Raise The Rent. Made up of alumna from Roomful of Blues and Johnny & The East Coast Rockers, the band also performs sans Martin, and vice versa. The tight outfit sways in perfect harmony with Daphne, demonstrating an obvious passion for and knowledge of Western Swing and the hip boogie of the Big Band era. One such number, the mid-tempo shuffle “Let’s Stay In Bed All Day” effortlessly combines both styles, incorporating trombone and fiddle in a manner reminiscent of Asleep At The Wheel. Like roots music itself, “Dig & Be Dug” cannot be easily defined or pinned down to one style. Not swing. Not folk. Not country. Rather, these songs unfold like some tapestry of America’s great and complex musical traditions. If this record is any indication, Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent are not mere arbiters of this tradition. Much more than that, they raise it to a new level, thus ensuring its endurance into the 21 st century and beyond.” http://www.motifmagazine.net/
“Featuring the sultry voice of ‘Dame Calico, Daphne Lee Martin’ — whose melodies and delivery would be at home in a ’30s Parisian café, a midnight set in a Nashville honky-tonk, or a blues juke in East Baton Rouge — ‘Raise the Rent’ are one of the area’s finest and most unique bands. But it’s not just Daphne. Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Craig Edwards, who’s fluidly adept in styles from sea chanteys to zydeco; drummer Matt Gouette, a fine pop songwriter in his own right; and bassist ‘Brad Bensko’ — across the board, this is a really intuitive unit.” – Rick Koster, The Day
“Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent are the musical equivalent of a Happy Hour where you go from drink-to-drink, and it all mixes together in wonderful ways you’d never have believed. They sway from Dixieland to Western swing and zydeco to life-is-a-cabaret/sophisto-lounge treatments – and do so with a sly, sweltering spirit of confident fun. To answer a question: yes, the long-rumored CD is tentatively slotted for a September release. The tracks are recorded, they’re in the mixing-then-mastering stages, and even videos are being shot as we speak. In preparation, RTR is gearing up for a heavy touring season all over the region; it kicks off Friday at Sneekers in Groton.”
– Rick Koster, The Day (Mar 31, 0011)