Vocalist Martha Wash Releases New Album

To understand the musical history of Martha Wash, one has to start at her days growing up in a Christian household. Her early singing career, tied very much to gospel and the church, blossomed into a multi-platinum, two-time Grammy nominated career that has spanned decades. From gospel, to disco to pop and R&B dance, Wash’s larger-than life voice is heaven sent. She also possesses the same grit and relentlessness that leaves fans cheering for her and never, ever counting her out. In Love & Conflict, the former half of The Weather Girls and C+C Music Factory legendary songstress, showcases further examples of why she is so divine.

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Love & Conflict, an eight-song collection on Wash’s own Purple Rose Records, begins with the jazzy, up-tempo “Glamour Flows”. An empowering song, Wash’s carefree tones and harmonies are sunny and warm. This song has a lot of Marvin Gaye-vibes happening and I loved the spunky mix of horns and piano keys. Yes, I believe in what I am, Wash sings. She later sings it’s free to find out who you wanna be…find your style. I felt like this was the perfect first track for the listener to dive right into a happy, joyous setting.

In “Like Fire” Wash sings in a lower key, giving the listener a more dramatic emotional connection. I felt like this was a cross-between a gospel song and an R&B/pop single. I loved the textures in her vocal delivery. She comes thru to the listener like someone that is so empathetic and caring. She sings like she’s a choir of one. I can just close my eyes and feel her presence all around me- even if I’m only listening through a computer speaker. Can you imagine the goosebumps you would have listening to this particular track and Wash in general in a concert setting? My goodness!

“Soaring Free” and “Flowers Blossom” continue the greatness streak. I’m stuck on which one is my favorite of the two. Don’t let anything confine you, she sings in “Soaring Free”. She’s accompanied by a dreamy horn section and a glorious piano cascade. In “Flowers Blossom” she takes a fierce, or matter-of-fact turn. I felt like she was encouraging to her listener, but kept it real. She sings, sometime you’re the only one that never knows, sometime you’re the only one that never grows. The saxophone is sleepy, almost noir, and a subtle, but potent string arrangement dancer just below. There’s a fight in her voice that comes from above, you can just feel it in your bones.

“Never Enough Money” is a killer-Motown offering. The beat and the vintage-organ is fantastic. Have I said my goodness in this paragraph, yet? My goodness. In “Don’t Forget My Name”, the former backup singer for disco legend, Sylvester, is front-and-center. There’s a Chic-like guitar riff and she’s completely in control. The final two tracks, “Honey My Friend” and “Rise and Shine” complete the all-around solid album. I’m absolutely stunned at how wonderful Love & Conflict is. I could gush on this for days and days. Marsha Wash proves once again she’s rightfully seated as one of music’s greatest voices.

Michael Rand

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