Daphne Lee Martin
Daphne Lee Martin started making music when she was just a kid. It was oldies radio, playing “Chapel of Love” and Daphne was singing along harmonies when her folk-singer mother overheard her and began teaching her. Growing up in southern Ohio, the family had always been around a great wealth of white gospel, mountain ballads, classic country and Old Time fiddle and banjo tunes. She was never one for the raucous numbers, but stuck mostly with the torch songs and does to this day.
At 17, Daphne & her mom and sister recorded an album of harmony-rich old time and maritime songs. Daphne fell in love with tall ships~ something completely foreign, exotic and romantic to a gal who’d never lived near the ocean or even in a city. The next year, she put her guitar in her car and drove to New York City to cut her teeth on performing in the concrete jungle.
Following the path of the trio singing she loved, she joined forces with Erica Smith and Alison Kelley to form the “trio of sultry songbirds” Ida Red. This was when she realized she could write songs in the style of the songs she’d loved since childhood.
Daphne spent the next few years around Pete Seeger’s Hudson River Sloop Clearwater community using music as a means of teaching sustainability, environmental science, and the importance of traditions to the communities of the future. After all, somebody has to carry the torch of the beautiful legacy of folks like Woody Guthrie, Jean Ritchie, Alan Lomax, Pete and all the countless musicians who have given us these old songs. When she finally swallowed the anchor,
New London, CT was the home base for the group of musicians who’d helped Daphne get started with the first album, she and long-time friend Craig Edwards joined up with a group doing Hot Club style covers and they all formed a string band supporting Daphne’s original songs, giving them their signature swing. Over time, it became Raise the Rent, focused on a harder, darker edge incorporating drums and electric guitars into the set and leaning ever harder on timeless melodies and arrangements inspired by the tin pan alley writers of the 20s and 30s and of course, Tom Waits. She developed a vocal style based on the chanteuse sticky-sweetness of Blossom Dearie, the twang of Patsy Cline and the indie wistfulness of Neko Case.
‘Dig & Be Dig’ was released in November 2011 and Daphne has been recording and touring full-time ever since. Now about to release her 4th studio full-length, ‘Fall On Your Sword’ she’ll be touring nationally in the fall of 2015.
“Like roots music itself, “Dig & Be Dug” cannot be easily defined or pinned down to one style. Not swing. Not folk. Not country. Rather, these songs unfold like some tapestry of America’s great and complex musical traditions. If this record is any indication, Daphne Lee Martin & Raise The Rent are not mere arbiters of this tradition. Much more than that, they raise it to a new level, thus ensuring its endurance into the 21 st century and beyond.” – Don DiMuccio motifmagazine.net
“Featuring the sultry voice of Daphne Lee Martin, whose melodies and delivery would be at home in a ’30s Parisian café, a midnight set in a Nashville honky-tonk, or a blues juke in East Baton Rouge, Daphne Lee Martin & Raise the Rent are one of the area’s finest and most unique bands. But it’s not just Daphne. Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Craig Edwards, who’s fluidly adept in styles from sea chanteys to zydeco; drummer Matt Gouette, a fine pop songwriter in his own right; and bassist Brad Bensko round out the group – across the board, this is a really intuitive unit.” – Rick Koster, The Day
“The musicianship on this record is incredible – the steady tight rhythm section along with the fiddle and lead guitar work of Craig Edwards… you couldn’t hope for a better backdrop to lay your vocals on and the vocals are what most people are going to take away from this record. Daphne Lee Martin has really become known for her sultry cabaret vocal stylings and this record bears that out.’ – Adam Wujtewicz, wailingcity.com