- Artist: Martha Schuyler Thompson
- Format: CD
- Release Date:1/14/2003
Martha Schuyler Thompson has written, arranged, produced and recorded this powerful CD of twelve songs entitled, Road Kill which has been released on the Cottage Industry Music label. Thompson's work has evolved over a period of twenty years to reflect how she views the state of the human heart in those individuals poised on the very cusp of change and set against a backdrop of the modern world. Her lyrics elevate the seemingly mundane, and in so doing, honor the struggles of everyday human beings. Road Kill is a strong body of work that stylistically honors Thompson's root influences of early American Folk music, Country, Gospel, Blues and a gentle but hilarious infusion of the Motown spirit which she seems to have absorbed along the way in her development as a writer. Two basic ideas served as the impetus for writing Road Kill. First, Thompson had done some touring alone the previous year and it just about did her in (hence the title, Road Kill). Says Thompson, 'It was enormously difficult for me as a parent, spouse and writer to travel and still maintain strong domestic ties with my family at home. I was often torn by being in two places at once. Although I enjoyed meeting new people and connecting with audiences far from home, there were times when I secretly wished that someone else would do my traveling for me. This new album, Road Kill grew out of my desire as a writer to address that secret wish! I developed some composite characters based on both, actual and imaginary individuals who could tackle any challenge the modern world had to offer them. Through the characters I was able to travel more extensively -- as well as more comfortably -- than I ever could have on the road. They face all manner of contemporary social, political, economic and emotional issues with dignity, grace and aplomb. Now, my only hope is that I can grow as a person enough to become more like the strong-willed, compassionate, humorous and confident characters I wrote into existence! I hope you enjoy them. Better yet... I hope you know some of them!' Secondly, Thompson had concerns that there weren't enough positive female role models in contemporary American popular culture and media. Considering herself both, a creative artist and an individual with a responsibility to make positive contributions to our culture through the arts, Thompson devoted herself to the development and subsequent portrayal of strong female characters in this current body of work. Each song on this release represents a facet of an individual voice in the characterization of the respective pieces. Says Thompson, 'My goal in writing Road Kill was to address the manner in which women of our culture have been represented in popular media by offering up more positive alternatives to the stereotypical caricatures currently in vogue. As a songwriter firmly entrenched in the contemporary folk medium, I felt a responsibility to our culture as a whole to portray women as the complex, wise, strong-willed and gloriously varied individuals that we truly are. With luck, other individuals might have an opportunity to hear through music the voices of strong female characters (like those on this album) giving shape and definition to our experiences in contemporary American culture.' As a lyricist, Thompson is a keen observer with a wry sense of humor who painstakingly records those subtleties, nuances and characteristics that distinguish a particular place and it's people as they face radical shifts and changes brought on by life in the modern world. Her lyrics pay tribute to the speech patterns, stock phrasing or dialects found in various regional pockets of the country while diverse stylistic musical elements explored in this comprehensive collection honor Thompson's own root influences. Road Kill is a genuine body of work that honestly depicts the poignant juxtaposition of a changing -- yet timeless -- people set against a backdrop of the American landscape. Road Kill features the following stellar supporting musicians: Hollis Taylor (composer & Old Time Fiddle Champion whose playing is featured in two Gus Van Sant films, My Own Private Idaho & Even Cowgirls Get The Blues) on violin; George Mitchell (20-year veteran of the Diana Ross Band) on keyboards; Warren Rand (Robert Cray Band, Albert King) on saxophone; Gordon Rencher (Eugene Symphony, Third Angle percussion quartet, Oregon Ballet Theater & Festival of American Music) on drums & percussion; Brian 'Pope' Casey on bass; and Martha Schuyler Thompson on lead & backing vocals, vocal distortion, and all guitar & slide parts. CRITICAL ACCLAIM: 'This is one of those rare albums that come along all too infrequently, where every song can be put into your current rotation...The tracks on the album range from American Roots music, like Blues and Folk, to Celtic and Latin rhythms. The album's tracks stand alone as individual pieces brilliantly, yet taken as a whole, a vibrant mural of characters come into view...All the guitar parts (some impressively athletic finger-picking here) are done by Thompson, and in an age when one is tempted to ask, 'Where are all the female guitar heroes?,' it's nice to have a woman represented.' -fmqb, Progressions 'Martha Schuyler Thompson is a prime example of an artist who has gained a following by hard work and undaunted determination. She sings songs about the ordinary things in life --both past and present-- and gracefully elevates them to poignant observations. Her newest effort...is a sophisticated collection of songs that reveals her passionate style, incorporating influences from the realms of folk, gospel, blues, jazz...' -totally adult, Album Network '...her lyrics are in turn wittily observant and audaciously allegorical, and...effortlessly avoid the limp self-absorption and strident moralizing so common, and debilitating, to the singer-songwriter genre. And the music's good, too, acoustic-based songs with tasteful rock embellishment and a subtle yet profound bluesy affinity, a growling, soaring vocal that sounds like strong coffee in the morning feels...Martha Schuyler Thompson's vocals...are constantly in motion, a joy to hear, and her lyrics amuse, entertain, move and occupy.' -folkdj-l 'In an age of polite, even-voiced singers, Martha Schuyler Thompson's big, soulful voice really stands out. She can belt out a song like the opener 'All Right Without You' with a sax and powerful rhythm section and still command attention, yet be equally compelling on a slower, mellower ballad like 'The Wild Grasses.' Thompson wrote all 12 songs, many of which deal with life on the road (including the humorous title track, 'Road Kill'). Others present the listener with strong female characters dealing with real problems. Musically the backing ranges from the very simple to full bass, drums, and keyboards backing her acoustic guitar,. A strong new voice in acoustic music.' -Dirty Linen 'Martha Schuyler Thompson attacks each word with a passion, often growling the lyrics to her pop-flavored material... this is an engaging and interesting release, from a writer with an effective, powerful voice and original style.' -Sing Out '...an atypical indie singer-songwriter album. Multi-dimensional subject matter, full-bodied singing, imaginative guitar-playing, and remarkable self-assurance carry the day...Thompson is one of the country's hardest-working performing songwriters around, garnering gigs, positive reviews, and engagements across the country.' -The Performing Songwriter, ASCAP News 'She's got a powerful voice and doesn't mind roaring and growling when the lyrics call for it...Fortunately the intensity of the lyrics is matched by the substance of her subject matter...For me it is her more reflective songs that are the gems of this collection...If you like your music strong and honest, you will want to check out this unique and provocative artist.' -Music Matters Review 'Martha Schuyler Thompson is a truly versatile performer. Producing herself...Thompson slides easily between jazz-inspired rockers and gentle ballads. Purely emotive is the best way to describe her deep-range and vocal style...Thompson is certainly one to watch. The consistency and quality of her work are top notch. Highly recommended.' -Crossroads '...she lives up to her reputation as being articulate and colloquial in the same breath, witty and poignant in the next. With a voice and style that could be passed off as belonging to the bastard child of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Laura Love, Thompson layers extremely quotable lyrics over strong, guitar-based tunes...' -FAME Magazine 'Everyone is going places on Martha Schuyler Thompson's Road Kill, but they're not always happy about it, nor are they always sure why they're going. The latest album by the Oregon-based singer-songwriter is a kind of travelogue, touching down in different musical and emotional landscapes. From the contemporary Celtic of 'Casting My Net' to the gospel ballad, 'I Have Been There Before' to the country blues of the title track, the music serves as a kind of commentary on the narratives, both of which explore the quintessential American clash of home vs. The road.' -The Berkshire Eagle, Spins.