For the first thought that comes to mind when hearing Aunt Martha, one would think of their dearest aunt that makes delectable sweets and is always the one that gives you the most unusual gifts for holidays and birthdays, not to mention usually the last person that you would want to hear singing aloud. It would not cross most people’s minds that Aunt Martha is a band of men. Turns out that this band, Aunt Martha, consists of a group of attractive, twenty-something-year-old guys that play music that is made for the new trend in mainstream.
Nashville Music Guide had the pleasure of listening to the band live at a showcase they had in Nashville back in June, which we featured photos of in our NMG CAM section on our website. Aunt Martha had an extra show prior to the Bonnaroo festival at The Basement, which made us inquire what the group’s stance was on playing festivals versus venues. Tim answered, “Festivals are great because there is a lot of great music and sets happening, but there is something about a venue full of people that are there for your music. That is tough to beat.” A response could not have been better said by even some of the top acts.
Originally a trio, Aunt Martha now consists of Tim Noyes, Garret Leahy, Brian Kim, Todd Brehm and Eddie Byun. Tim, Garret and Brian told us that they were very excited to have the new members on board and it has been fun collaborating together.
The guys are constantly on the road, and in true indie band fashion, they know the ins-and-outs of the open road. As they liked to put it, “We hustle north, south, east and west playing our instruments for beautiful people who listen to us. We’ve been known to sleep in the van, on floors, and occasionally in beds.”
Since Bonnaroo, Aunt Martha has continued their runs around the country, but before hitting the road again, they took some time off to do something special for their fans. Aunt Martha caught our attention by showing a really covetable use of social media and engaging their fans by creating a blog diary of unrecorded songs called The Abandoned Bedroom Sessions.
The series consisted of songs that the guys had never recorded and had saved away for a rainy day. At the end of the The Abandoned Bedroom Sessions, they released a download of all the songs to their fans for free. “We are really committed to doing [social media]. It is a really big part of where things are headed in the music industry,” expressed Tim.
Continuing to churn out soulful music, after The Abandoned Bedroom Sessions, Aunt Martha’s new album Norway, ME was released in September. The album was available as a free download from 9/6 through 10/18 when it was released commercially with three extra tracks. It is now available at auntmarthaband.com/store or itunes. The album title was inspired by lead Tim’s family ties to Norway, Maine. There is a cabin there that they frequent to write and record the songs. Tim described Norway by saying, “It is a pretty tiny town. A great spot and I like to go there whenever I am not on the road to relax and take things in.”
Their albums capture what has been lacking in the mainstream music these days with the heavy songs filled with emotion wise beyond their years, and vocals that can be compared to those of Ray Lamontagne. Not to mention, signature artwork for their albums and EP’s that is original and takes on a life of its own in relation to the songs it portrays. “Morgan Schweitzer is unbelievably talented and we are so grateful for all the work he has done for us,” voiced Tim about the artistic friend of Aunt Martha.
The only thing that gives their album a run, is the group live. Their unique instrumentation and arrangement enriches the sound, along with the deep vocals and melodic mix of euphonious harmonies, captures the audience and take the tunes to heart.
Our most recent meeting with Aunt Martha was a performance at Nashville’s local music venue, The Rutledge, where they put on a smashing performance even after a trying time getting to the show. On their way their van broke down and they had to hitch a ride from a few local Nashvillans. Yet again, in true road-band fashion, they overcame the obstacles and put on a stellar show.
Powerful music and lyrics, innovative use of social media, and unprecedented live showcases, Aunt Martha has it all, and they are not stopping there. They are continually pushing the edge on what they can achieve in with their music. They are continuing to play shows and are in the process of getting ready to lay down some more music at the beginning of the year.