Whole Life Magazine

December 2018 / January 2019

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December 2018/January 2019 23 M artin Kerr's profound skills manifest in multiple ways. The folk singer and Canadian Idol alum's latest album, Better Than Brand-New, demonstrates wide talents as a singer, composer, and mouth trumpeter. Its tracks will draw you in listening, laughing, even humming along. The stand-out "You're Amazing" is a simple, lyrically profound tune. "I'm Not Bad Myself, But You're Amazing," Kerr wrote for his wife in Australia, after she suggested he write a song about how wonderful she is. Says Kerr, "A great deal of inspiration comes from the imagery and concepts in Baha'i writings and prayers I was raised with. The Baha'i Faith has a rich mystical heritage and also teaches that music is 'a ladder for the soul.'" Dr. James Mellon, Global Truth Center LA's founder, invited Kerr to perform there in the autumn. "Not only is he an amazing singer with a style uniquely his own, his lyrics and melodies are deeply infectious and inspiringly touching." "I love songs that transcend barriers of age, culture, or taste, because for me music has this incredible potential to unite and connect people," muses Kerr. "My latest song, 'You're Amazing' is really simple. People of all ages seem to connect with it." Other tracks include: "Not in Stores," "Little Screens," "The Update," "A Little Longer," and his take on Bruce Cockburn's "Lovers in a Dangerous Time." Sweet folksy ballads or powerful anthems, Kerr's originality is evident — hypnotic in raw sound and profound message. Kerr has opened for Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan and she describes his voice as "pristine, measured, and beautiful." Kerr's storytelling is universal and memorable. Be sure to catch him when he's next in town. (Independent) —Gordon Durich Better Than Brand-New art & soul music By Martin Kerr F irst Aid Kit, the neo-Americana band consisting of Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg, has returned to bless the world with four unreleased songs, part of a new EP, Tender Offerings. The mini-album begins with "I've Wanted You," sung with the same gorgeous sadness and performed with the sparse instrumentation the sisters are known for. The song is beautiful, but too familiar to the duo's earlier work (e.g., imploding relationship tales set to haunting, crystalline sounds) to really register or be deserving of its nearly seven-minute length. The following entry, "Tender Offerings," also revisits a similar theme of First Aid Kit's work — the often-conflicting yearning for freedom (single life) and stability (relationships). But a minute in, Klara and Johanna's voices and guitars kick it up a notch and "Tender Offerings" transforms into a toe-tapping celebration of optimism and human connection. The third entry truly surprises; "Ugly" is like a Coachella version of TLC's "Unpretty," with the sisters unfurling a lovely feminist message. The lyrics describe a young woman's awakening; realizing her whole life rests on the validation of strangers and her boyfriend. "I thought if you found me pretty then I'd be fine... It's only if you wanted me that I had peace of mind... Well, if I'm ugly, I'm so much more than that. So much more than you'll ever know." Tender Offerings' closer carries on that positive spirit. "All That We Get" highlights the Söderbergs' maturity, emphasizing gratitude in an unsure world. "But if this is all that we get, all that is dealt to us, is that really not enough? I got you and that's enough." (Columbia) —Neal Broverman Tender Offerings By First Aid Kit

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