Album Review: Jeffrey Martin, ‘Thank God We Left the Garden’

In the midst of desperation, darkness, and division, Jeffrey Martin comes carrying songs of quiet resolution that embrace human resilience and foster hope. On Thank God We Left the Garden (Fluff & Gravy Records), his first album since 2017’s One Go Around, Martin creates a spacious sound, inviting listeners into a safe and comfortable sonic space where they can reflect on the persistence of evil in the midst of good and console themselves with the beauty of the world around them and in Martin’s poetic flights.

The constant themes of human persistence and strength run through this sparse and cinematic album. Ringing fingerpicking opens “Quiet Man,” laying the foundation for propulsive tempo that spirals upward with the affirmation that, even amidst the struggles between conformity and rebellion, redemption arrives in moments of human defiance of contrived social controls. Quiet guitar strums open and float under Martin’s raw voice on “Lost Dog,” a meditation on the impermanence of life and love—“Love is everything that can’t be held for too long.” Shimmering, swaying fingerpicking and strumming echo through “Garden,” a parable about the moral ambivalence and aesthetic innocence that exists within the human soul: “In my mind there’s a garden/Full of beauty and darkness/Full of sorrow and sweet things/Where my heart can be honest.” Minor chords circle around and around, punctuated by Jon Neufeld’s swampy electric lead riffs, on the haunting “Red Station Wagon,” an imagistic anthem about the failure of the human spirit, while the ethereal “All My Love” delivers a celebratory tale of the triumph of the human spirit. The album closes with the spare, peripatetic rhythms of “Walker,” a reverberating folk ballad that conveys the exquisite ambiguities of the circle of life and death in which we all amble.

Thank God We Left the Garden showcases Jeffrey Martin’s lyrical ingenuity, his warmly crafted instrumentation, his intimate vocals, and his persistent affirmation of hope and love in the face of loss and fear.


Thank God We Left the Garden is available HERE


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