Despite 20 years of peddling his wares and releasing albums
in abundance both on his own and in the company of his backing band the
Daintees, journeyman troubadour Martin Stephenson remains all but unknown
outside their native U.K.
Whether California Star will be able accumulate the sunny vibes beckoned by the title
track remains to be seen, but Stephenson and company are clearly intent on
providing something special for everyone.
The first four tracks alone shift seamlessly between several
different genres, from the soulful shuffle and cinematic ambiance of “The Ship”
to the rugged Marty Robbins-like narrative “Streets of San Sebastian” to the
dusty country ballad “Power That Is Greater” and the breezy “California Star.” The
rest of the album follows suit and indeed, any attempt
to pin Stephenson and crew down to any one size fits all categorization is
bound to end in failure. Of course that won’t boost his recognition factor, just
as it fails to confine him to any obvious niche. Nevertheless, in committing to
this organic, off-the-cuff approach, Stephenson ensures he’ll not only keep
things intriguing, but he’ll keep his fans guessing as well.
“Streets of San Sebastian,” “Power That Is
Greater,” “Streets of San Sebastian”