Nappy Martin & Friends,
Steady Through the Storm
(Ryeside, 2001)

In contrast to the image its title brings to mind, Steady Through the Storm is a smooth ride over calm water. Nappy Martin possesses a quietly soothing voice that floats gently along and brings a solid cheerfulness to his songs.

Clean and wholesome without being sappy or cheesy, this music puts me in mind of the days when you could count on understanding the lyrics you were hearing and wouldn't be embarrassed by them. The title song speaks of lasting love and companionship, devotion and undying faith: "Steady through the storm, I'll stay with you. Steady through the storm, unfailing true. When you find your faith is shaken, anytime you feel forsaken, steady through the storm, proudly I'll stand with you." This could only be written by a man with a big love going on.

Another love song but from a much different perspective, "Belle" speaks of the torment of trying to choose between a passing attraction and an established relationship: "Belle, I've been watching you, tell me what you're doing to me. It's hell 'cause I can't reply, makes me want to die when you're so near. For I'm a family man with a lot to lose, and that look in your eyes makes it so very hard to choose." The struggle is painfully real in his voice.

All songs were written by Martin, who plays guitar on the album. The Friends are Bob Shepherd (keyboards), Bobby Sweet (rhythm guitar and mandolin), Terry Hall (drums and percussion) Matt McKeever (bass), Steve Ide (electric guitars), Dawn Barbieri (tenor saxophone), Adam Rothberg (acoustic and electric guitars and pedal steel) and Eileen Cozzaglio (violin and viola). Vocals are provided by Nappy Martin, Martha Dane Martin, Sue Choquette, Susan Healey, Carolyn Highley and Aubrey Choquette.

- Rambles
written by Sheree Morrow
published 8 May 2004