Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
2018 has all the signs of being the break out year – so long deserved – by Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar. The group’s latest recording, entitled Run to Me, released on Gypsy Soul Records April 27, 2018 has reached #1 on the Roots Music Report Blues Charts, #14 on the US blues charts, #24 on Earshot! in Canada, and #36 on UK Blues Radio and have received incredible record reviews from all over the world. Produced by Darcy Yates, the album is a massive step forward for both Martin and Delta Sugar. Over the course of the project’s ten tracks, every song written by Martin solo or in tandem with Curtis Chaffey or Suzie Vinnick, the album explores the full range of the vicissitudes of love: desire, betrayal and, at times, emotional and sexual satisfaction. As a collective, the songs reflect remarkable growth on Martin’s part as a songwriter. The lyrics are incisive, the melodies are constantly arresting and the harmonies and arrangements call up the best of the soul sounds of Stax Records and such contemporary artists as Leon Bridges, Sharon Jones, and Lee Fields.
Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar’s debut release, 2015’s Send the Nightingale, was a stripped down affair consisting of Martin, her two co-singers Sherie and Stacie, and guitarist Mikey McCallum. For Run to Me, Martin elected to record her emotionally wrought material with an expanded band, augmenting the core of Delta Sugar’s gospel-infused harmonies with a full rhythm section, piano, organ and an ever-so-soulful horn section.
Send the Nightingale was a stunning achievement which garnered four Maple Blues nominations in 2016, was regularly featured on the CBC, topped the blues charts on Stingray radio and propelled the group onto the stages of all the major Canadian festivals and clubs coast to coast. Subsequent to the album’s release, Martin has been nominated three years in a row as Female Vocalist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards. Continuing to build on the group’s steam rolling momentum, in the fall of 2017, Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar were selected by a panel of blues experts to represent Toronto at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, where they made it to the semi-finals and turned heads.
Martin is the lead singer, songwriter and focal point of the group. A dynamic front woman, she possesses a stunning voice that is capable of summoning up tidal waves of spine-tingling emotion in one instance while delicately bringing out the nuances of a gut wrenching lyric in the next. A torrid force of nature, night after night she takes audiences to emotional peaks while leaving them stunned with her sheer pin-you-against-the-wall power.
Martin’s first recording was an EP entitled Fade, issued in 2004. A year later she moved to Toronto and in 2008 released her debut full length album, Back Home. The eponymously titled Samantha Martin and the Haggard followed in 2012 before Martin decided to form Delta Sugar, keeping with her the Delta-inspired and mystery-inflected guitar lines of Mikey McCallum. Augmenting McCallum shortly after Send the Nightingale was released is the kinetically charged Dani Nash on drums. Depending on the circumstances, the group expands to include keyboards and horns, ranging from six to eleven pieces on any given night.
While Martin is a powerhouse unto herself, the vocal alchemy of Delta Sugar is not the work of a single talent. In combination with what she likes to term her “co-vocalists,” Sherie Marshall and newest full time member Mwansa Mwansa, the vocal blend Delta Sugar produces is pure, unadulterated gospel-tinged, neuron-tingling magic where the sum is even richer than the already soul-melting parts.
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar will begin a large scale 10 country tour, January to March 2019, with over 75 shows in Europe and Canada.