Christina Martin at CD Plus, Winnipeg

Christina Martin and Steven Bowers

Christina Martin and Steven Bowers at CD Plus, Winnipeg, Aug 27 2009. Ailsa Dyson photo

Review and photos—Christina Martin and Steven Bowers at the The Sunset Saloon, Winnipeg, Aug 27 2009

-review by Eugene Osudar/photos by Ailsa Dyson

i used to be
an un,tormented writer
i was a celebrated and loved
writer, more,
a Loved and cared for
person,

mostly,

“my yummy man,”
she says,
said.

a husband
with a beautifully
celebrated best friend,
my julie hoops.

she was so beautiful.
that every man
watched
her fly.
and dance.
Indian Classical.
and that was
my
julie hoops
on the brochure
and posters,
two weeks in August,
julierama.

i was
the most beautiful
man to walk this
earth
and fly above
it

and now,
in this moment
i am a tormented writer
and yet

i’m back again
twice three four,
more and more
times
illimitable
unimaginable
fully
of me
my
Self
Heart
Flowing
Soul
Energy
than that
that was
Me
then,

Now!
i am
so very beautiful
that my energy
flows
through
the bones
and the desires
of merely/est
you.

Dear Reader,

so, i saw a tormented writer
yesterday and an un,tormented writer,
too

they told me so.
they showed me so,
openly and fully so.

they showed us
the venues
The Sunset Saloon
25 people
and
in CD Plus
Garden City Mall
less than ten
(more than zero)

Christina Martin
and
Steven Bowers from
Halifax.
touring across the country.

so here goes,

the story,

Christina and Steven
are playing an in-store
in a mall that is notorious
for nothingness and
emptiness.

aren’t all malls
so and so?

well, even in this mall, there;s something,ness
Ukrainians meeting in the food court
talking about love and death.
grandkids and divorces.

my impending divorce.
no kids.

i goes to the bathroom
bladder bursting.
uncommon relief!
and joy!

Ailsa goes and sets
about taking photographs…

 

i make my way
to CD Plus and hear
the first song,
Christina’s cover of Andrew
Sisk’s/Share’s
Subject to Change
and her voice is beautifully
textured
layered richness
penetrating
my skin
the fine layers
and these silly prayers,
please,why,me,
(Andrew’s words,
her voice)
and my fragile bones
deeply caressing
my heart soul,
and as i cross
the threshold
entering
with my joyous
(sincere)
smile

her eyes
look up

and she greets me
with her spontaneously
combusting
smile.

 

and, Ailsa captures that Instant
of a when
our smiles
met.

For Jeff (and Jane,
their hosts
at The Sunset Saloon,
their concert venue
home on Bedson
Street), she plays
Two Hearts

 

a song about Love’s greatly greenly
leaping spirit.
she also plays,
I Can Too
and last,
You Come Home.

 

i’m smitten and so is Ailsa,
Jeff and Jane
are already there. he’s been
shaming me on facebook
and emails, to come see
Christina and Steven,
their house concert.

but i tell them
I Have Victoria’s
The Gruff
at Times and they’re playing first.

and i have
a meeting with a musician
to discuss
writing an unconventionally
me
Wikipedia
entry for
he.

but you know,
i’m bending
no,
i’m falling

into
the falling place

the when and the where
a musician touches
me
deeply.
or a prayer
answered,
a woman,
an angel,
a goddess,
mostly,
I Love falling for
Timber!
a quirky
beauty.

just like a julie hoops.

Steven Bowers plays 3 songs,
Bees in Jars
Gas Station Lullaby
Comfortably Sweet, with Christina.

three so very beautiful songs
from an
untormented songwriter.
completely
Loved and Honored.

 

after the 3rd song, Steven tells
us he felt like passing out.
imagining himself
crashing through the store’s window.

he’s suffering through a cold
and his throat’s aching, sore.
he’s saving himself
for the Sunset Saloon.
the concert. he needs,
sleep and great BBQ
food.

the line in the Gas Station
Lullaby about running
“like holy hell”
makes me feel like i’m in a perfect
beam
of sunlight. and Comfortably Sweet,
which is on his myspace,
Christina’s true-hearted interpretation
of his purely loving words,

“if i could bust in,to your heart
reach the truth and mystery…”
the [perfect hesitations,
between syllables,
running into
\the guitar rollicking notes
pickings, heartbeats.

there are chills in all these 7 songs.

i’m talking to Christina.
i give her my card,
she gives me hers.
and she gives
her beautiful
speaking voice and i tell her so,
and she’s surprised,

Ailsa says later, “no one’s ever
told her that.”

it’s true, her speaking voice is deeply
rich too.
it can read poetry
Neruda or Cohen
and break
you into millions
of pieces.

that’s a voice.

that’s a gift
of biology.

mother and father.
grandfathers and grandmothers.

she gives me her CD.
Two Hearts,
it’s gorgeous.
too.
and she gives me a Two Hearts
temporary tattoo

and i tell her
about my broken
heart.

she says, “do you still
believe
in two hearts?”

and without
hesitation,
with every ounce
of every passionate
bone inside
desperately
(a)lonely
merely
beautiful
me

Yes
Yes
Yes!

Two Hearts
always
I will Believe,

she’s relieved and i know
i have to see
her tonight.

just because she believes.

Part Two
(Hearts)

Sunset Saloon.
i get the perfect
comfy chair
in the perfect
place
in the room,
i’m beside the piano.

and splayed over sides.

“Steven, Steven, Steven,”
Christina begins the chant.
7:40 PM.

and Steven is still ill,
his throat is raw
but he’s better
he’s not about to fall
through the picture window
it’s the food and rest,

and his songs

are truly
untormented,

Gas Station Lullaby
Bury Me By The River
Your Pretty Faults
It Breaks You So
Sleeping Dogs
Your Life as a Piano
Bees in Jars
The Boy Who Lost an Eye
Comfortably Sweet

50 minutes.

“rise and shine, sleepyhead”
oh sleeping dogs
and the images flashing through
his writer’s mind
and! a piano to play
as he tells
us
not to allow your kids to
quit their lessons
like he did!

he tells us about
the x-ray galsses he and his little
brother Jeff sent away for,
he was 8, jeff 6.
and they dreamed of seeing
through everything,
“but not lead,” jeff says,
“cuz Superman can;t even see through lead.”

Steven’s 29 and Jeff’s 27
and they’re still waiting for those
x-ray
glasses to arrive.

that’s an untormented
life
and a beautiful life!

i know this life.

he sings about his grandfather,
Bury Me By The River,
converting just before his death
by
cancer,
buying his ticket to heaven,
just in case.

grandfather and grandmother
waltzed around the kitchen
till 4 AM, family of musicians,
grandfather played spoons
grandmother was a yodeler.
all those Pretty Faults!

Steven sings and fills us with these
beautiful
growing up
family loving
stories.

It Breaks You So.
is a 50th wedding anniversary
song, the dream,
the vision
of he and his wife…
50 years down the road
the hardest journey!
his drummer’s wife’s sister
it was a set up,
“Have i got a girl for you!”
says Keith,
and Steven admits
he normally
doesn’t do well
with set ups.

they married last June.

Two Hearts.

I Believe.
Steven Believes,
Christina Believes.

in Two Hearts.
Jeff and Jane.
Believe.

Your Life as a Piano
that piano!
a musician imagining
being an instrument.
and thanking it.
every instrument
every musician
every amateur
every pro.

Bees in Jars is about capturing
good natured
bumble bees
and learning
that trapping 200 bees
in a mason jar
and breaking them
around your sister’s friends
isn’t a good thing.
it is a cruel thing.
trapping anything.
when you don’t have to eat.
what is trapped.

but there’s joy and Love there.
running like holy hell,
i Love This Song.

“we were devils on our bikes.”

ending with the duet
again,
Comfortably Sweet/
and we’re helplessly
lost
in their performance
their voices
Steven’s
glorious words
and tune.

see, not all writers
need torment.
i wasn’t.
i didn’t need that
or this.
betrayal,

the three of swords
dripping blood
through
(my) heart,
that was the center card
in the Tarot
reading i received in March
2008.

now.
i’m tormented.
and i’m writing.
here and now,
i’m naked.
i’m tired.
i’m awake.
and i dream.
of Two Hearts.

I’m ready for
two hearts
again,
“I’m Ready!”
i shout, i declare
fists in the air
in the packed
Times Changed
(above the bar din)
High and Lonesome,
telling Shayna
about Christina
and Steven.

i’m ready.

“I’m the tormented one between us,”
Christina says.

she opens herself
in the songs
and stories
before and after
the songs

(she told me
in the store
i needed to hear
the stories behind the songs,
and, i heard her)

Christina let’s us see
her pain. her torment.
the inspiration of,
her beautiful talent.

her need to shine.

i need to shine and so does
Steven
and Shawn
and Ailsa
and Dallas
and Mike
we all need to shine.

Christina Martin,

Wondrous
Unimaginable
Beauty
that comes from
the deep inside
sparkles and shines
her fragile words
illuminated
in the prism
of her songs,

her voice
(cracking,crackling,lightning
and thundering
in our souls,)
through
the floorboards
the hiding places
seeping inside
us
The Audience
like sunbeams.

we’re ready.
she’s preparing us.
for
the falling place.

her
unfolding
beauty
in this her
hour of stories
and songs.

the first song is about theft.
the two main characters
are Christina’s father and brother
somebody stole something
and the police came,

she opens the door
immediately.

and she’s so young and confused
and it’s all
about running away
and being afraid and being
young and scared
and holding
on so tight.
daddy’s a blanket.

cuz somebody stole something.
and there’s a bank fraud.
and there’s the police
and her daddy’s gone.

The Bike Song
is a break,up song
and yes i relate to it
instantly
when i think about
bike riding with Julie
cuz one of the millions
of things
i miss
is bike,riding behind her
(watching her ass)
and her hair falling
from her helmet
down her back
that i massaged every night
we were together
for years and years and years
12 years
that her hands
touched and oiled
my naked body too,
and me imagining being
her
bike
seat.
perfectly wrapped around
her ass.

“i know this is coming to end.”

my cheque
is with my lawyer
yes, i know this is coming
to an end
and that’s why,
i’m breaking…

into a million pieces,

with every song.
every true song.
sung with passion and played
with raw power.
that’s the gift
of musicians,

the healing gift

of songwriters
and storytellers
and poets
and artists
like,
just like,
Christina Martin.
Steven Bowers.
L Cohen.
Neruda.
cummings.

we’re just sharing it.

it doesn’t matter
who you are,
just open it.
fully.

that China Box.
the 3rd song.
she tells us about
her cousin Lucy,
only she isn’t a cousin and that’s
especially clear when the naked
photographs of Lucy
are found in Christina’s
father’s effects
after his passing…
“she sure was around a lot.”

we’re feeling it
the searing torment
in the way every song
is sung.

is played.

and i’m broken too.
i’m raw too.

sometimes her father was a millionaire
and sometimes he was broke and busted
and hiding/

he bought a big mansion
in NB
he didn’t have the money
to keep it up
the wealth facade
and so,
the bank fraud
and
the police came,

every
song
has a story

and a house concert
is the only (safe) place
to hear the stories.

the truth
the anguish
of a little girl
and her daddy
and the police.
and the hiding.
The Torment Place.

“i broke the piano
by kicking it so hard,”
Christina confesses.
that’s how she quit her
piano lessons,

ya think she hurts?
do you feel the pain.

and the hope,
in Two Hearts.

I Feel It.
I Believe It.
it’s in her voice
and her eyes
her delivery
is pure.

she’s believes in the journey.

she plays Subject to Change
and we’re told it reminds her
of her great aunt Sue
who no one in the family liked
except
Christina.
“she was a trip”
playing for hours with her costume
jewelry
taking in the secondhand smoke,
Sue died of lung cancer.

I Fear I Am,

“i used to be afraid of everything,”
she says and this song
reminds me in structure
and melody
and words
of
I Am I Said
Neil Diamond
and that’s fine by me
because there’s a man
who writes the holy.
and plays it holier!
one of the best concerts i saw
last year.

Neil Young was better.
but he’s younger.

Daisy is a song for Jeff and Terry
who play Christina’s songs
on their university radio shows,
CJUM/
Jeff honestly and rightly
rates
her CD
Two Hearts
Top Ten.
no complaints from me.
it’s Beautiful.
Powerful.
more now,
that i know the stories.

that i’ve seen her eyes
from behind her bangs
(and her smile)
looking around the room
wondering
if we still accept her
for more than a beautiful
face body
smile eyes
voice songs,

we accept you more
and more
than you’ll ever imagine.

like jeff and jane and the terrys
we’re clearly more than
smitten,

we’re in Love.
the fragile little girl
all grown up and
voice
trembling
and
unafraid
anymore
(I Fear I Am)
deep
inside the beautiful young woman’s
body and soul
and true heart
that we see
we experience
now.

Guard Your Heart.
“two shots of tequila
i just wanna be with you…
fast and hard
i just wanna be with you.”
repeating those
last two
lines, hard and fast
feeling the imperative,
“guard your heart.”

Two Hearts
is again for Jeff
and Jane. and ” for all you
hopeless romantics.”
just like me,
just like you…
“this kiss is long and hard
i do not know what i’m doing…
i still believe in two hearts
beating for something.”

Christina’s been married.
now she’s not.
now she’s going 100%
with a guy who’ll
meet her in Saskatoon…
Daisy is the song where
the marriage story
unfolds. so young, so hard,
tormented so and committed to
Two Hearts
the hope and dreams,
to this kiss.
heart,beat
drum,beat.
pumping
coursing
through
body to body
soul to soul
dream to dream.
and a room
Sunset Saloon
with a perfect view.

Temporary Hell
is for Terry and then
Erin, who is due
the very next day
and then the song
somehow
becomes only for Erin
and the baby
that’s quite funny
Temporary Hell
for mum and baby.
and freedom comes
soon. another song about
coming or going
and prolonging things
when it should be over
sooner
soon. i know that
feeling too.

You Come Home

last song
a sing along
about the time
when her father
came home at Christmas
in secret
hiding from the police
the neighbors
and Christina
asks for a nice and big
gift…

“one day he was gone.
i was told to tell my friends
he was on a business trip.”

the mansion was sold
they moved into a two
bedroom townhouse.

“it’s not fair
you go
i stay
but you better be back
someday”

“meantime
i’ll try
again
not to cry
but you better bring me
a gift
and it better be
nice and big”

and that’s our part,
we sing
“nice and big.”

“daddy,
maybe
i see
why you had to go.”

“it had better be
nice and big.”

that’s it,

the tormented
and the untormented.
beautiful
songs. unfolding stories.
beautiful musicians
and company
and hosts.
always,
thank you
(jeff and jane and jeremy
too),
Sunset Saloon,
August 27.

Christina Martin photo

Christina Martin at CD Plus, Winnipeg, Aug 27 2009. Ailsa Dyson photo

Christina Martin photo

Christina Martin at CD Plus, Winnipeg, Aug 27 2009. Ailsa Dyson photo

Christina Martin photo

Christina Martin photo

About Eugene Osudar

“born, august 16, 1963. i’m 45, and yes, i’m getting too old for this. bring out the rocking chair. my first concert, november 1978, elvis costello and the attractions. i was 15. their blisteringly brilliant 65 minute set only served somebody to affirm my new direction in the musical parallel universes, new wave punk alternative, oh sanctity oh celebration (!Freedom!) college radio! i’m old, i’m used up and i’m free. i see 50something Full sets of music every month and dance most of them. and when i dance, i mean to say, I Dance and Celebrate, 2/3/4 hours a night. The Gaslight Anthem. The Boss. The Weber Brothers. The Wind Ups. i’ll dance with Los Campesinos. i’ll move to The Long Winters. The Replacements. Husker Du. The Pogues. oh elvis costello, oh Clash! i could go/go/go Gogol Bordello forever. L(eonard) Cohen. come, Dance With Me (Old 97s) wherever you may be, sincerely, eugene
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