Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Martin Van Ruin “Every Man a King”

martin van ruinMartin Van Ruin is a Chicago-based Rock band that came together from different bands from that area to create something new and different. Consisting of Pete Falknor: drums; Sarah Jane Goldstein: vocals, percussion, melodica; Derek Nelson: vocals, guitars; Brian Sharpe: lead guitars, piano; Cathy Starr: violin; Philip Vickers: lap steel, guitars, trumpet; Alex Winter: bass, the various members of the band add several different musical influences into the band’s sound. Within the band’s sound you’ll find Rock, Folk, Country and other sounds that all blends together to make a style that is as much about Rock and Roll as it is about Folk and Country music. That style can be found on Martin Van Ruin’s current release called Every Man a King.

Every Man a King from Martin Van Ruin begins with the only track on the ten-track release that was not written by the band- “Give Me Flowers (While I’m Living)”. A standard of the folk music genre, this version of “Give Me Flowers (While I’m Living)” features singer/guitarist Derek Nelson and vocalist/percussionist/melodica player Sarah Jane Goldstein as the two create a simple interpretation of the song featuring only their two voices and a mandolin. The simplicity of the track’s sound helps stress the “Folk” feel of the piece and also gives the two singers the opportunity to give the song’s lyrics the strength they deserve.

Once the minute-long “Give Me Flowers (While I’m Living)” comes to an end, the band changes their sound for the first of many times during the ten-song playlist of the release. The song “Wilderness” is the epitome of what is meant by the term “folk-rock”. Within the song’s musical makeup, you’ll find the loud strength of the electric guitar from Derek Nelson that gives the song its rock feel as well as the fiddle from Cathy Starr that helps add just a touch of the folk music feel to the song. The song features a slightly slow pace to the music but the band delivers the music with enough energy to ensure that the track comes off as strong and solid. The track is one of the strongest and best points on Every Man a King from Martin Van Ruin.

While “Wilderness” has a musical approach that combines Rock with Folk, the track “Someone Tried to Warn Me” features a much stronger Rock feel. The band creates an Indie-Rock feel to the track and the inclusion of the trumpet by Philip Vickers also gives the track a fun feel to it.

One of the most interesting tracks on the Every Man a King release from Martin Van Ruin is “Put It Away”. The band creates an Indie-Rock track that combines elements of both Rock and Folk music. Like on the track “Wilderness,” the inclusion of Cathy Starr’s violin once again gives the song a lot more depth; but this time, the instrument adds to the Indie feel of the piece. The song ends up having one of the most infectious sounds of the entire album. The track starts out simple with only the guitar and vocals from Derek Nelson and Starr’s violin. It slowly builds to include the entire band and the resulting track proves that Martin Van Ruin is a talented musical ensemble.

With the track “Gold and Love and Gin,” Martin Van Ruin creates a track that truly feels like a mix of Country and Rock music. The band seems to channel a little bit of Johnny Cash for just a little while. The resulting Alt-Country sound on the beginning of the track builds to a point where the Rock and Roll influence completely swallows the Country influence. The music continues to build until the band creates a jam band-like approach to the music as the music swirls in the ears of the listener. On “Gold and Love and Gin,” Martin Van Ruin combines so many different musical facets to create the track that it almost seems overwhelming.

Chicago-based Rock band Martin Van Ruin has created an album Every Man a King that takes many different styles of music and produces a release that switches between musical feels from one track to the next. The members of the band prove to be very versatile and that helps make the album that much more enjoyable to listen to.

To check out the music from Martin Van Ruin, check out the band’s Bandcamp profile.

Check out Martin Van Ruin in concert on the song “Put It Away“.

Check out the band’s PR firm, Novo Arts, Inc.

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