Christina Martin and her husband Dale Murray finished their European tour in 2016 and have since written a new album and debuted another tour through Canada. Martin writes and sings while Murray plays a wide range of instruments and produces each album.
On Nov. 10, the duo appeared in Fredericton for a low-profile performance at a house in the outskirts of the city. The audience consisted of about 50 individuals in the cozy environment of a basement full of couches and lawn chairs. The performance took place on a two-foot-tall stage with purple headlights.
The Lansdowne concert series is a monthly home-based concert hosted by Paul and Liz McDonnell. The couple began the series five years ago and now receive over 200 requests from artists who want to perform, only 12 of whom are chosen each year.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own beverages and often bring hors d’oeuvres to share during the intermission. Entry fees range from $20 to $35 depending on the performer. Students receive a discount.
Paul began the performance with an introduction. “Christina is constantly reinventing herself and every reincarnation is beautiful in my view,” he said.
“Impossible to Hold”, Martin’s latest single, was the first of her performance. Murray took out a glittery electric guitar while Martin sang with her tasteful raspy vocals.
This was Martin’s second performance in the Lansdowne concert series. Martin says she and the McDonnells have been friends ever since and she is “so thankful for that friendship.” In their honour, Martin covered “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King. The crowd sang along to the well-known lyrics: “Winter, summer, spring and fall, all you’ve got to do is call.”
Martin then performed the song “Two Hearts”, the first song co-written by her and Murray. The audience chimed in, singing, “I still believe in two hearts.”
Mid-way through the performance, Martin explained that she struggles with anxiety and that singing is her main escape. “Singing helps me breathe, I’m so happy to be breathing right now,” she said.
Martin partnered with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for her “Impossible to Hold” tour. She lost her brother to an overdose in 2013 and says she wishes she had done more to help him.
“What’s really important in the mental health movement is something very simple… Just talking about it and trying to not be weird about it,” she said.
Martin encouraged her audience to sign up as a change agent alongside her. She brings a sign-up sheet to all her shows and audience members can register for $25 a month.
The artist plans to spend the winter months writing and setting more tour dates. “The music industry can become depressing if you let it, so you have to see the opportunities that are out there and create your own paths,” said Martin.