Five years ago, Martha's Trouble, an Americana folk/pop duo, released a nationally, critically acclaimed album, “Forget October.” Since, the duo has all but been quiet, touring the country, writing and recording, preparing for the next leg of their epic adventure.
On February 1, 2011, Martha’s Trouble will release the much-anticipated “Anchor Tattoo” the duo's tenth self-released album.
The past five years have been crucial for the duo. In addition to sustaining a career in music, Jen and Rob Slocumb started a family and are raising their two children – Wilson, 5, and Emery, 3. The time between albums allowed the couple to focus on their family and spirituality, both setting the tone for their release of “Anchor Tattoo.”
Exclusive Magazine recently sat down with Jen Slocumb and discussed her time spent in the group, tattoos, the new CD, and of course, ... Penguins!
Taking it from the top and how easy is it for an husband-and-wife due to get along all the time - being on the road together, at home together, etc. Is there a secret we need to learn, perhaps? "Well, it's not easy sometimes. I think the biggest thing for us is we can separate the business part of it when we need to. When doing shows or traveling, if we aren't getting along or have a problem with one another, we are good about putting it aside and getting the job done. I think the other part of it is, is that we just simply enjoy spending time with each other and we give each other space when it's needed. We were great friends before we ever got married, and I think you really have to be in order for this kind of thing to work."
Being that this is your 10th album, what has kept you believing in the music business - even when the economy took a down turn and the music-buying public were fleet of foot? "To be honest, we lost hope for a few years. After our CD, Forget October came out in 2005 we found out that we were expecting a baby. We seemed to make it work for the next year, but a year after that we were expecting our second child. This made it feel impossible to keep doing what we were doing in such a hard business."
"We tried other things. I opened a hair salon and Rob got his real estate license. We did that for two years, and realized in doing so, it was not who we were and we needed to get back in the studio and make a new record. We seemed lost without it. We decided that if we were going to do a new record it would have to be paid for without taking out a loan and making it harder on ourselves."
"So we started a kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for the record. We decided if we didn't make the goal of $10,000 we couldn't make it. After 30 days of people pledging for rewards, we did reach the goal and we were able to start recording. I think that helped our belief in what we were doing, because other people believed in us too."
Indeed, you have named this 10th album, 'Anchor Tattoo' - but why? "Anchor Tattoo is a song on the record that talks about my life. I actually do have an anchor tattoo on my wrist. I got it for my strong sense of grounding from my spiritual life and how my husband and kids are right there with me. I have gone through so many different trials, like we all do in life, and this tattoo was a way of saying I'm where I belong."
"I grew up in a very wealthy family, and after high school my parents lost everything. We went from riches to rags. It was very eye opening and was the start of my journey in finding my spirituality. I realized that you can get by on very little and that money doesn't buy happiness."
So, aside from the tattoo on your wrist, and as we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, do you have any other tattoos? "I also have an orchid on my foot, a maple leaf (for being Canadian of course) on my ankle, stars on my back and finger and a butterfly on my shoulder (that was my first). That's it!"
"Rob has one. He has Hebrew writing on his forearm that says, "I am my beloved's and she is mine". Very romantic right? He claims I was supposed to get the same one, but I never remember that discussion! haha"
Your debut album was in 2006, and it's been said that this 10th album is a return to your signature sound. Why was this signature sound missing from the last few and what made you want to rediscover it for this new album? "We started out with a very 'folk' sound that we actually used to hate to be categorized as. We kept fighting that label and would try a more 'pop' sound down the road. Not only with recording, but our live show too became a more "pop" show. We found out that our strength would lie somewhere in the middle."
"We are so much more sure of ourselves now and feel like that happened because of the discovery process we went through over the last few years. We feel like this record really reflects our maturity in the songs, the sound and in our lives."
The album seemingly features lots of personal memories, roads musically trodden yourself within the lyrics - is that a fair assumption of the tracks? "Yes, definitely. It is a very personal record. The songs are not only about ourselves and the things we've gone through, but about other people that are close to us too. I think over all it's a very positive, hopeful feeling record which is what we wanted. I think there are songs on this record that a lot of people can relate to as well."
And just where did the band name Martha's Trouble originate? Word has it that the Bible plays a part in its creation "Yes, it does come from a Bible story. Luke 10:41 to be specific. The story around this verse is about two sisters who Jesus was visiting, Martha and Mary. Martha was running around cleaning while Mary was hanging out with Jesus."
"We really liked the message this story had. We thought it was a good perspective to always live by, "to stop and smell the roses". To always pay attention to the more important things in life. We thought it would be fitting for our band name since it was something we believed so much."
Have you ever known a Martha to be in trouble - and if so, did you go to her aid?! "Haha. No. We have met a few Marthas on the road though."
Having raised two children, thus far, along the way, can you see both Wilson (5) and Emery (3) becoming musicians and following in your footsteps, perhaps? "Yes, I think so. You never know! I think we really would be happy with whatever they choose. We secretly want Wilson to be a tennis player though. We are huge tennis fans, and thought it be great to someday get to the tournaments by being a parent of a player. Haha. They both are very musical though. Wilson is actually a lot like Rob and more into the guitar and likes the drums (I guess that part is more me). But he has a great sense of rhythm. And Emery is a born performer. She loves to be in the spotlight. She loves to sing."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love penguins ... do you, perhaps? "Hmmm....interesting question. I love peacocks, is that close???"
Not in the slightest ... but thanx for playing along!
Interview: Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of this new CD, and you think you know all there is to know about the band, just answer this easy question: As mentioned above, Jen opened a hair salon, but what was the name of it?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful new AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before June 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: MARTHA'S TROUBLE SIGNED CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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