Album Review of
The Martin Gilmore Trio

Written by Joe Ross
January 27, 2021 - 4:04pm EST
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Colorado is known for acoustic string music with adventurous tastes. From the Denver area, The Martin Gilmore Trio has an enchanting, varied repertoire that channels inspiration from folk, old-time, blues, honky-tonk, bluegrass and swing. This is the third recording project from singer/songwriter/guitarist Martin Gilmore. In 2009, he put out his first eponymously-titled album of original songs. He then lived in Cairo, Egypt for a few years and released “East-West” in 2017 (with Eslam Elabaty on oud) and featuring a variety of traditional American and Egyptian folk music, along with some original songs. Now, in collaboration with mandolinist Nick Amodeo and bassist Ian Haegele, Gilmore succeeds with a well-wrought album in the Americana music market.

Gilmore’s pleasant lead vocals are robust, and he delivers poignant lyrics with relaxed, convincing feeling. Five songs are arranged with the charming back-up vocals of guests Courtney Hartman, Mollie O’Brien or Tim O’Brien. Gilmore’s self-penned compositions “Christina,” “I've Got the Blues,” “Song So Sad,” and “I'm Not My Body” have a lot of character, embellished with some flavorings of octave mandolin in the mix. The closest the trio comes to bluegrass is a cover of “Sweet Sunny South” (with Tim O’Brien singing tenor), while the “Golden Vanity” is a poignant seafaring ballad of a brave cabin boy. Another strength of the trio is that they’re stellar instrumentalists in idioms from driving blues (“Freight Train Blues”) to lively old-time (“Shove That Pig’s Foot Further in the Fire / Bonaparte Crossing the Rocky Mountains”) to toe-tapping swing (“I’ve Got The Blues”) to original neo-trad acoustic tunes (“On the Road to Allihies”).

With plenty of emotional electricity and snappy spirit in their fluid melodic conversations, The Martin Gilmore Trio has the potential, repertoire and chops to build a legion of fans and appeal to a wide demographic that simply likes solid, tastefully rendered acoustic music. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)