Martini Garden – Give A Little Love (Independent)
Long Island quintet Martini Garden originally got together in 2007 around talented husband and wife team, Jim and Christine LoPiano. Jim plays guitar and writes the material, Christine sings the songs, and they’re joined by Miriam Hubbard on backing vocals, and the rhythm section of Mike McBride on drums and Rich Cunningham on bass guitar. Their mission statement is to “bring peace, healing and love to the world, one song at a time” – can’t argue with those sentiments.
Of course, such a statement brings to mind the hippy ideals of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and I’m sure the group wont mind being identified with a movement that inspired so much fantastic music. Martini Garden certainly look back to the ‘60s and ‘70s on their debut offering “Give A Little Love”, a 15-track collection of blues, rock and Americana styles. For the most part their songs are upbeat and lively, with Christine’s vocals mixed high in the mix and a hustling harmonica adding bluesy leads and emphasis.
They kick off with “Meaning of Rock and Roll”, and all their unique elements fall instantly into place – their good-time rolling blues rhythm, the mesh of guitar and harmonica giving way to strong vocals, and a catchy lyric that sticks around. When their approach is gentler and more reflective, on songs like “In Love” and “Key to My Heart” they’ll remind many of the soulful, adult pop produced by artists like Sam Brown – which is no bad thing. Personally, I’m happy whatever way they choose to play it.