From the Press

Radio Interview with Henry McCarthy of Poets and Writers on WEHC (interview #28) April 2016 https://archive.org/details/PoetsAndWriters

O’Henry Magazine, June 2015

Martha’s Melodious Mix is Music to the Ears

The versatile songstress found success
migrating seamlessly among styles and genres

doodad

 By Ogi Overman

Watching Martha Bassett perform, one is immediately struck by the obvious — her crystalline voice, unpretentious good looks and comfortable stage presence. But there are a few other elements at play that are more subtle. Most of the time she plays with her two longtime mates, to her right, guitarist Sam Frazier, and to her left, standup bassist Pat Lawrence. Onstage there is a balance, a certain symmetry, with her being the centerpiece with the three functioning as a single, harmonious unit.

Unintentional though it is, that stage balance is a mirror of her career, indeed her life. Hers is a story of balancing the personal and professional, the secular and the spiritual, the creative side and the business side (the latter being something that musicians are notoriously bad at). She has perfected that oft-precarious balancing act with poise and aplomb.

Classically trained (bachelor’s in music at University of Kentucky and master’s in music/voice at UNCG), the central West Virginia native settled in the Triad after grad school and a short stint in the banking business that, “Let me know exactly what I don’t want to do.” She discovered early on that versatility is one of the keys to sustainability, as evidenced by her wide-ranging repertoire that taps into jazz, country, bluegrass, folk, rock, swing, Americana and torch songs.

She fronted Martha and the Moodswingers, a popular jump-swing ensemble, for several years, recording two albums with them. A large chunk of her work also involves church music at both Centenary Methodist in Winston-Salem and the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Greensboro.

Martha’s gift as a songwriter is not to be denied, another reason she has succeeded where others fall by the wayside. She has recorded seven albums and is working on her eighth.

“I’m hunkering down, spending a lot of time alone writing songs,” she says. “I have a lot but if they’re not unified in my head, they don’t go together in a cohesive way.”

Local listeners will have several chances to see Martha and the band this summer. They play monthly at Lucky 32 (www.lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm) and will appear at the Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park series August 23. She also breaks out her American Songbook renditions as one of the rotating featured vocalists at Thursday Cocktails and Jazz at the O.Henry Hotel (www.ohenryhotel.com/jazz.htm) with pianist Dave Fox and her old mate from the Moodswingers, saxophonist Neill Clegg. Her next show will be June 25.  OH

Winston-Salem Monthly, December 2011

“Martha Bassett: Singer/Songwriter”
The Winston-Salem-based singer, musician, and songwriter is a classically trained performer who has also studied how the brain perceives sound. To say she is passionate about music and how it affects people is an understatement. For years, as a vocal teacher and choir director, she heard too many people say they couldn’t sing.

Go Triad, April 2011

“With a Little Help From Her Friends”
Singer and songwriter Martha Bassett has long been a respected icon of the Triad music scene with her classically trained voice, which has been described as “angelic” and “crystalline.”
This month, with the release of her fourth album, “The Goodbye Party,” Bassett gives listeners a glimpse of her personal diary with a versatile palette of songs that either send shivers down your spine or make your toes tap

No Depression, March 2011

“A Wink, The Kiss, The Goodbye Party”
Intricate and resoundingly captivating, each song takes me further into a scene: ingesting intelligent conversation amongst smoke and divine food, swirling a glass of cabernet, all softly illuminated by haunting brass tones and a tall centerpiece candle.
After this introduction, I had to see and hear more.

Winston-Salem Journal, December 2010

5 Questions – Musician Martha Bassett Shows Range
Singer, musician, and songwriter Martha Bassett trained as a classical singer at the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Originally from West Virginia, Bassett is well-known in the Triad’s music community, first for her renditions of jazz standards, and more recently for her turn toward country and rock music.

Radio interview, WFDD’s Triad Arts Up Close

Listen to the interview

Winston-Salem Journal, 2009

Martha Bassett, a local vocalist with few peers, enunciated each and every word with pristine clarity — to the point where the music became not just a joy but a revelation of wit and vivid imagery.  And it underscored that Bassett is among the few singers who can deliver Rodgers and Hart with such warmth, expression of feeling and care.
–Ken Keuffle (reviewing the Carolina Chamber Symphony Players Concert, Aug 29, 2009)

Classical Voice of North Carolina, 2009

Bassett’s … voice is particularly well suited to slow ballads, and her heart-felt delivery was lovely. Bassett’s singing of “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” showed the singer’s ability to spin out long lines in a slow tempo. This version featured only the soloist and the rhythm section, which lent a more introverted and intimate touch.
–Tim Lindeman (Review of Carolina Chamber Symphony Players Concert, Aug 2009)

News & Record, 2008

“Her music was as eclectic as her outfit. Wearing jeans and disco shoes, she began her show with a rollicking honky-tonk version of “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.” …the group had an imposing presence. Her performance of “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” was not the vampy jazz treatment…she rocked it. The highlight of the evening was her version of the Mick Jagger/Keith Richards classic “Loving Cup.” It was much more country than the Stones but retained their menacing energy. For this former moodswinger, Bassett’s new tempos have swung her in the right direction. This is one makeover that is truly star quality.”
–Grant Britt, Greensboro News and Record (July 28, 2007 Review of Eastern Music Festival Concert at Triad Stage)

Smitty’s Notes – July 2, 2008

Voted “Best Local Band”

Connect Savannah – May 6, 2008

“This combo from N.C.’s Triad area hangs out at the nexus where cocktail jazz, tearjerker C&W and classic torch-songs spoon up against cooler-than-cool Western swing. Vocal Bassett plays the role of sultry ingenue to the proverbial “t,” and her come hither stare, vintage ribbon-style microphone and slinky duds have noir temptress written all over them.
With instrumentation that includes lap steel guitar, upright bass and trap drums played with steel brushes, this is a group that knows how to draw the listener in with sparse arrangements and plenty of negative space. That austere approach may be a bit of a liability in a chatty room such as this, but something tells me this front woman, whose sound has been rather accurately described as Hank Williams meets Peggy Lee meets kd lang (now there’s a dinner party!) can handle it with aplomb. That devil-may-care-attitude likely served her well when she recently had the daunting honor of opening for the one and only Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.
–Jim Reed

Winston-Salem Journal – August 5, 2007

Voted “Best Local Band”