Moxie (Noun) - 1. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage. 2. Aggressive energy; initiative. 3. Skill; know-how. Yeah, this is a pretty good start in describing the new album from New London's Daphne Lee Martin.
At the tail end of 2011 Daphne Lee Martin and her band Raise The Rent released a swinging mini-compendium of Americana called Dig & Be Dug. When rumors of a new record started to pop up it was noticeable that she was no longer billed alongside her backing band, but as a solo artist now. Nothing new in the world of Americana as artists such as Wooden Wand seem to change they're moniker with every album. There still had to be a reason though, right? Well, let me ask if you're old enough to remember the days when nightclub performers dominated places like Vegas and Atlantic City. They would always do two shows per night. The early show was fun, family friendly and meant for a wide audience. The late show was always risque, maybe a little dark and meant to make you not only smile but blush a little bit. Well, there's the difference between the last Daphne Lee Martin record and this one. Moxie is the "late show".
Really, all the players from the previous album are back to lend a hand alongside a cavalcade of CT musical talent. Members from M.T. Bearington, Elison Jackson, Milksop:Unsung, and Goodnight Blue Moon just to name a few all make appearances. The sum total of these parts finds Martin experimenting and dabbling in a wide array of genres and moods. But if you're fretting that this is some disjointed attempt at paying homage to one's influences then fear not. What Martin has done is take all the sexy out of the speakeasy and make it palpable for people who don't necessarily want to go too far back in time for this type of musical voyeurism.
Tracks like "Faithless Beauty" (featuring Sam Perduta of Elison Jackson on guest vocals) and "Cheers, Darlin'" reach levels of darkness, both sonically and lyrically that Martin has never hit before. To be honest these two tracks alone showcase the breadth of her emotional range, especially when the latter track is followed up by the lounge act styling of "A Little Bit". Again, though, that's what makes Martin's albums so special. There really are very few genres of music that she hasn't dabbled in and every time she comes out on top. Need another example? Try the the track "Belly" with it's Portishead meets funk and jazz vibe.
No matter what angle you look at it from Moxie is a home run of an effort and sure to open Martin up to a whole new portion of her ever-growing fanbase.