MARTIN GROSSWENDT & SUSANNE SALEM-SCHATZ
Old Songs, New Hats
Martin Grosswendt, whose recordings over the years have appeared all too rarely, has been one of my favorite blues artists for about four decades. He is also rather accomplished at various other traditionally based roots styles and his eclecticism is more than evident on this seven-song, 22-minute EP marking the first release from his duo with Susanne Salem-Schatz as they draw on blues, real deal country music and contemporary folk music.
Martin and Susanne are a self-contained unit with Martin on guitar and banjo, Susanne on guitar and mandolin, and both trading lead and harmony vocals. Among my favorite tracks is Martin’s version of Larry Murray’s great song about an old Cajun barroom singer, “Mama Lou.” I’m sure I must have heard Martin backing up our mutual friends Jim Ringer and Mary McCaslin on “Mama Lou” at some point back in the 1970s.
Other highlights include “How Can You Have the Blues,” with Martin as Georgia Tom and Susanne as Kansas City Kitty, and Susanne’s take on the classic blues “After You’ve Gone.”