Friday, March 16, 2012

Martha Abbott

Artist: Martha Abbott
LP: Precious Is His Name
Song: "Precious Is His Name"
[ listen ]
Song: "A Passport to Heaven"
[ listen ]

I just had a ten minute phone conversation with Martha Abbott! I was pretty sure the number on the back of Martha's debut LP wouldn't still be hers, but figured I'd call it anyhow to see who it belonged to now. Martha was a little wary before identifying herself, asking several times who I was and why I was calling—she says nowadays she's got to be careful when dealing with strangers and that she doesn't normally answer the phone if she doesn't know the person who's calling. We began chatting after I explained that I'm just a new fan of hers in Seattle who found her record in Cleveland while traveling through Ohio last summer. I let her know that I think her piano playing is absolutely amazing and that I really love her album, so decided on a whim to try calling the phone number listed on the back. 

According to Martha, "Precious Is His Name" was the first song she ever wrote, and this album, made in the mid-'70s, was recorded in Nashville. Her producer there passed away after she made a few records, so she began recording in her hometown of Columbus instead. She's released a total of eight LPs, and they've all sold really well throughout Ohio and in neighboring states. "You can find them everywhere," she told me. Martha no longer travels long distances (her son won't let her) and she's never been to Seattle, but she still performs all around Ohio at churches, weddings, funerals, etc. She has a regular gig playing and singing at two different churches and with their respective choirs; she's recently written five new songs and is currently looking for a producer for her next record. "I found one, but he doesn't do things the way I'd like them to be done," she said. I sympathized with her desire for artistic control, and she told me she feels blessed to have been able to perform her music for so many people for such a long time—"It's all about Jesus." If you're a producer in the Columbus area and you'd like to work with the charming and talented Martha Abbott, or if you'd like to have her play for your church, wedding, or funeral, send me an email and I'll tell you how you can get in touch with her.

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