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$15 Advance | $20 Day of Show
Mama’s Broke have spent the past eight years in a near-constant state of transience, pounding the transatlantic tour trail. They’ve brought their dark, fiery folk-without-borders sound to major festivals and DIY punk houses alike, absorbing traditions from their maritime home in Eastern Canada all the way to Ireland and Indonesia. Nowhere is the duo’s art-in-motion approach more apparent than on their long-awaited sophomore record Narrow Line (May 13, 2022 on Free Dirt Records); it’s the sound of nowhere in particular, yet woven with a rich synthesis of influences that knows no borders. It earned them a JUNO nomination for Traditional Roots Album of the Year 2022. The eleven songs on Narrow Line burrow deeply, with close harmony duets, commanding vocals, and poignant contemplations on cycles of life, including birth and death. Tinges of Americana stand side-by-side with the ghosts of Eastern European fiddle tunes and ancient a cappella ballad singing, melding into an unusually accessible dark-folk sound. A careful listen of Narrow Line invokes an ephemeral sense of place—whether real or imagined—inviting us to take comfort in the infinite possibilities of life, whether or not we ever choose to settle down.
For a group defined by constant touring, it’s not surprising that the two artists that make up Mama’s Broke, Lisa Maria and Amy Lou Keeler, met on the road. As Lisa remembers it, “Amy was driving her old Mercedes from Montreal to Nova Scotia and I was looking for a ride. We spent the 17 hours in the car talking almost exclusively about music. By the time we reached Halifax we started playing together, and within a week or two became a band.” Both coming out of traveling communities that are focused on music and protest, the two owe the way in which they move through the world to the integrated and self-sustaining nature of DIY culture and activism. It was a busy life that took them on a roundabout annual touring schedule running between Canada, the United States, Ireland, the UK, and Europe. In each country, they built grassroots DIY communities to support their music or moved along the pathways of communal organizing that sustained other touring artists.
The driving force behind this band is – and has always been – the commitment to challenge borders between people, places, and traditions; while encouraging freedom of expression and community through music
Explaining Marty O’Reilly’s music is like describing a dream. It feels familiar, but at the same time unchartered. His songs sound bluesy but not blues, folk but not folk, soulful but not soul. Marty’s voice is beautiful and unique, his lyrics stark yet lush over gritty electrified guitar, melding beautifully into genre-defying music within the vast definitions of Americana. One can hear an urgency and complexity in the songs, expressing something elemental and perhaps contradictory: love and anger, joy and pain, real and imagined.
The live performance is at the core of Marty’s projects. On stage, whether accompanied by a band, or alone, he enters a trance and the music is born again as something new every night. It’s what his followers call “magic”. He goes from raw gospel blues to cinematic epics, from heavy driving grooves to delicately arranged folk songs. Marty leaves the stage out of breath and sweaty, his audience in awe. It’s hard to describe, impossible to categorize. Yet people who know the music will try to explain it to you, just as you might struggle to explain a dream in the morning. The details might slip away as you recount them, but the feeling remains.
“I started playing music as medicine for myself to feel good and digest some melancholy,” Marty leaves off. “Over time, I realized if music makes me feel good, the people around me who become a part of it will feel good too. It connects us on the same wavelength. I hope to give the world something real and refreshing.