MORRISBURG – Samantha Martin, who will be appearing with her ‘co-vocalists’, Delta Sugar, at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage on Saturday, November 5, laughed when I asked her what is was like to finally be performing live again. “It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “The reason I create music is to share it with others, and I, as an artist, get so much more from being back on the stage. I look forward to this concert. Really, it’s a bit like a homecoming.”
Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, a 10 piece band, will be on the stage at Upper Canada Playhouse for a fantastic one-of-a-kind show on Saturday night. Martin first performed at the Stage in 2017, and as Sandra Whitworth, president of the SLAS, said, audiences “have been asking for her return ever since.”
Regularly nominated for numerous prestigious musical awards, Martin and Delta Sugar got together in 2014, with a debut album, ‘Send the Nightingale,’ released in 2015. Her music is a critically acclaimed blend of blues, soul and gospel that has been delighting audiences ever since. And Martin’s is a powerhouse of a voice that soars to the highest emotional peaks.
“Blues and gospel, this is the music of the human experience,” Samantha Martin said. “There is always something you can relate to in this music. With soul, well, you’re always in love with somebody, and with blues – well, there’s always something to be sad about.” She explained that frankly she was raised on this music growing up and “it’s part of my bones now.”
Given her passion for music and performing, I asked how she had coped with shutdowns and the end of much of live touring.
“To be honest, I just didn’t do a lot of Zoom. We released a new album in 2020, ‘Reckless One,’ during a live stream from a hall in Belleville, that normally holds 500. There were 50 of us there. Definitely not the usual release party, but better than in my living room,” she said. “When you Zoom, it feels a bit to me like recording a ‘band rehearsal’. I just feel you need that unknown, that precariousness that comes with performing your music on stage. Live is part of the excitement: it’s a moment in real time.”
She admitted, however, that in 2019, Delta Sugar had been running “non stop. We finished a huge tour of Canada, and had also toured Europe. We felt we had to keep pushing and pushing, a kind of a ‘Go Go Gadget’ attitude, and the truth is, I think I was burning out a bit. In some sense, the COVID shut down was a chance for me to calm down, to think, and to decide not to sit and worry about the future. I knew we would start up again one day. Safely. To be honest, I don’t think I will go back to that level of intensity again, the lack of sleep, constantly touring, cancellations, lower incentives from promoters. Truthfully, I think the musical landscape has changed.”
Critics and audience alike are regularly swept up in the originality and passion that forms Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar’s appeal. When it comes to their songs, Martin is clear that “most of my music is incredibly personal, or personal to someone I know. I observe life, and I tell stories. I must always put my heart and soul into my music because you really do reap what you sew. I never want to ‘waltz’ through a performance. I commit. These are concerts and shows that I have personally created, and I believe you must do yourself and the audience justice.”
She is very excited about returning to the SLAS. At the November 5 concert, she will be performing numbers from her latest album, ‘Reckless One’ and cover songs by other artists as well.
“The musicians and I have been together for a while. We have drums, horns, guitars, bass, and I promise electrifying and fun music. I think the audience is going to love the show.”
I asked Samantha Martin what lies ahead for Delta Sugar after Saturday’s St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage Concert. “We have a 12 day Canadian tour planned for November, heading out to British Columbia,” she said. “And then” she laughed, “I will be staying at home for a time – waiting for our new baby. I think I can safely say that Baby will definitely influence my touring for a while.”
Tickets are available on line for Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, performing for one night only at Upper Canada Playhouse on Saturday, November 5, at 7 p.m.