Where love meets Mardi Gras = Love Gras 2015! Saint's Streets People's Parade Mardi/Love Gras Feb 14 2015
Offbeat Magazine, Feb 2015 Review by: Dan Willging
Marty Christian originally intended this as a solo project since his songs really didn’t fit his band Rue Boogaloo’s funky-bluesy grooves.
At least that’s what he thought until monster bassist Lee Allen Zeno (Buckwheat Zydeco) and jazz drummer Frank Kincel heard ’em. They wanted in and essentially shaped Christian’s solo affair with a Boogaloo foundation on most tracks.
Christian achieves an artistic milestone with a handful of songs that were written from a third-person perspective.
It’s something he has rarely done but through various encounters, the experiences of others were transformed sonically, such as the offshore worker yearning for reconciliation (“Louisiana, Hold My Baby”) and the ex-con trying to live clean (“Payment Down”).
On “Her Promised Land,” a young mother attempts to battle her way through insurmountable obstacles. The title song sports two versions, an electric and a heartfelt acoustic version.
Despite Christian’s folkie sensibility, he also defies strict categorization. His vocals occasionally border on soul-ish and he dives into blues, swamp pop and infectious, Zeno-powered funk at the drop of a hat.
Additionally, he’s an impressive finger picker—witness the ripping jazz-tinged romp “Too Much.” Christian may not be easy to pigeonhole but he’s nobody’s remora either.
What I Came Here to Do
"Honestly, when a white guy from Ohio puts out an album with a name like What I Came Here to Do, it carries a very large possibility of being a cheesy affair and sold in the “Louisiana Good Time Music” bin at whatever French Quarter tourist shop has a place for it right alongside rubber alligators and gumbo paddles. It’s almost certain that the “what” the musician came to do is something like have a good time, party all night or some other stereotype equally steeped in white guy blues. Honestly, Marty Christian should have picked another name for this record because that’s not what, apparently, he came to do.
Christian’s been in Louisiana 11 years, seemingly soaking up touches of the sounds and correctly redirecting them into his own — not throwing a rubboard or accordion in and calling it swamp blues. Instead, he just shows a few shades of what he borrowed from these genres. “Last Train,” for example, is such a close cousin to a Leadbelly track that it’s worth googling to make sure. “Too Much” reflects his Louisiana tenure, adding a jazzy blues touch.
Unlike the records in those tourist traps, this is all original material, not standards that have been covered (poorly) for the upteempth time. And backed by Lee Zeno (Buckwheat’s bassist) and Frank Kincel (Bluerunners and Specklers drummer), it’s a tight record with Delta blues minimalism yet smooth. Unlike the hard time blues men of old, Christian’s gentle and hopeful voice isn’t coming out of a throat full of gravel.
Though there are a lot of “my baby” songs here, Christian goes introspectively deep in penning them, avoiding the low hanging fruit of easy cheese blues.
Contrary to the genre, there seems to be hope in these blues songs. The title track — after it lists four verses of mistakes he made — ends with the assertion, “I just came here to leave with you.” “Louisiana, Hold my Baby” tells of heading offshore and fighting on the way out the door. Yet, by the end, it sounds like he might get the girl back.
Going his own route, Christian’s songwriting skills keep him out of the clearance bin. He’s not trying to reinvent or fuse the blues by any means, which is just fine." - Nick Pittman, the Ind, Lafayette, LA, Feb 2015