Scared Fearless

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ScaredFearless.FinalFronCover.jpg

Scared Fearless

14.99

Folksinger. Diverse, driven songwriter. Multi-instrumentalist. Producer. Independent businesswoman.  

Daphne Lee Martin has juggled multiple roles through her career, balancing a road warrior's commitment to the road with a sound that blends the traditions of southern roots music with the sharp sensibilities of New England folk, indie rock, sophisticated soul, and all points in between. On Scared Fearless, her fifth album of original material, she shines a light on her years logged as a touring musician. 

 

Tracking Martin's progress across landscapes both physical and figurative, Scared Fearless is an autobiographical album about the lessons learned — as well as the love that's both made and lost — during an adulthood spent onstage and on the road. Call it a travelogue, perhaps, with entries that tackle the emptiness of modern hook-up culture ("Fuck Tinder, I'm Standing Right Here"), the artistic struggle ("Young Man's Game"), the slow death of a once-vital relationship ("Some Fool"), and the unending battle between the call of the open highway and the lure of home ("Songbirds"). There's heartbreak, honesty, and humor. Throughout it all, Martin decorates the music with acoustic guitar, upright bass, piano, pedal steel, brushed percussion, violin, and other organic instruments, delivering her songs in a manner that's as natural and nuanced as the songwriting itself. 

 

Produced by Martin, Eric Lichter, and Jonah Tolchin, Scared Fearless was recorded in a traditional log cabin in the Connecticut mountains, within earshot of the Connecticut River. There, during a four-day tracking session at Dirt Floor Studios, Martin captured the album's basic arrangements in a series of live performances, with help from musicians like Isaac Young, MorganEve Swain, Matt Slobogan, Jim Carpenter, Thor Jensen, Andrew Sovine, Kieran Ledwidge, Tall Tall Trees, and John Faraone. Although Martin had met most of those musicians in her adopted hometown of New London, Connecticut, she'd written Scared Fearless on the road, during the lengthy solo tours that kept her away from home throughout much of 2015 and early 2016. Those tours took her from coast to coast, where she played a dizzying string of listening rooms, bars, and house shows. Along the way, she pieced together her new album's material in hotel rooms, sound checks, and the front seat of her car. Like Polaroids in a photo book, the songs wove together to create a story filled with candid details: estranged lovers laying together upon a cold bed; a car spilling gravel to the roadside as it speeds into the sun; a packed bag, waiting to be road-bound; a pillow slowly losing the scent of the one whose head once dented its surface. The album's cover, created by John Torres, touches upon some of those images, matching them with pictures taken during Martin's travels.

 

A lifelong musician whose previous albums have doubled down on her fictional storytelling chops, Martin turns the camera lens upon herself with Scared Fearless. This is the soundtrack to a life spent in the trenches, pulled into battle by one's dedication to art, travel, and exploration. It's an album shaped by mile markers, rear view mirrors, and wanderlust. And, like the highway that runs beneath Martin's wheels, it points her toward a new horizon.


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trav·e·logue     /travəˌlôg/

noun

a movie, book, or illustrated lecture about the places visited and experiences encountered by a traveler…

 

Writing and recording Scared Fearless was a pretty unconventional process, over so many months it turned into years. Is writing ever conventional? I think the first conversation I had with Eric about making an album together was when we recorded the Loudon Wainwright III cover together in 2015, the same time I wrote the first of the songs for this album.

They say you can only really write about what you know. I wondered how many years of touring it would take to start writing almost all stories from the road, stories of leaving and coming home. The answer, for me at least, was three. The cover artwork, created by John Torres (who also created the bee for Fall On Your Sword) is comprised in part of images gathered on the road and images from the stories in the songs, encompassing themes from my terrestrial, maritime, sexual, and often spiritual exploits. Turns out you really can’t go home, but I hope this collection of songs serves as a reminder of those you’ve loved and left behind, a candid and not yet faded stack of Polaroids.

 

Don't Let the Sun Go Down

Young Man's Game

In Certain Company

Rainy Day Women #42

Break My Heart Tomorrow

John Henry's Lullaby

Fuck Tinder, I'm Standing Right Here

Jack O' Diamonds

Some Fool

Songbirds

Willing Victim

I Hope I Never Meet the Bitch Who Broke Your Heart

Till We Meet Again

 

 

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down

            Matt Slobogan - 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            MorganEve Swain – 49K Upright Bass, Fiddle

            James Waine Carpenter – Epiphone Texan Acoustic Guitar

            Jonah Tolchin – Gratitele, Lap Steel, Vocals

            Eric Lichter – Vocals

            Andrew Sovine – electric guitar

            Daphne Lee Martin – Vocals

Written summer 2014. Musing over an exchange that turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life. I wrote this as a response to Cory Branan’s Survivor Blues, the idea that everyone in the room has a storied past. What we do today is colored by it, just like tomorrow will be colored by what we choose to do right now. This was the first chronologically, and I think it set the tone, and probably chose the name for the album. The title and chorus, contrary to Elton John fans, is based on Paul’s words to the Ephesians (4:26) about not letting the sun set upon your anger, poignant words for anyone struggling with circumstances they can’t change and mistakes they can’t set right.

When all the love this world can hold won’t set things right,

I wake up alone

And I recall the shit I said to you last night too late to say I’m wrong

I try to turn desires into virtues, find some purity of heart

In this hunger for your salt lick skin one more time before we part

Don’t let that sun go down, don’t let that sun go down

Cause I might not be here in the morning (2x)

I’ve been around enough to know what I don’t want,

but you and I could make a go

So won’t you pop another can of courage and lead me out on the floor

We could toss our histories out the window,

kick some gravel off the road

We could point the car into the sun and let it all unfold

 

 

 

Young Man’s Game

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            Eric Lichter – Martin D41 acoustic guitar, Fender Jazz Bass

            Isaac Young – Hammond SK2 B3, Rhodes

            Kieran Ledwidge – Violin

Written July 2015, in a parking lot in Asbury Park, NJ, waiting on a grinder. Three months into about 6 months of touring that year. I’d partnered up with another songwriter and was planning the big release tour for Fall On Your Sword, but had begun to really feel the drag of the road. After a while you start to see through the rosey ideal of being out in the elements, away from home, constantly broke, often playing for apathetic crowds or nearly empty rooms. Choosing to keep doing it anyway. I keep a series of notes, random thoughts, on my phone, and was bored scrolling through them while the stereotypical Italian deli dude made me a stereotypically amazing chicken parm grinder, thinking about a bunch of cliché phrases about accepting your current reality and how hopeful a lot of them are. It started with the ‘in for a penny, in for a pound” note and just flooded out from there.

It took a moment to learn, a lifetime to master

and every day goes by now just a little bit faster

But who gives a damn about my good name?

No, I’ll bet it all on a young man’s game

I left room for the holy ghost, but the love it gave me was cold at most

If you give me passion, I can bear the pain

You know I bet it all on a young man’s game

Playing with fire keeps me warm at night,

it hurts like hell but it helps me write

So lights out, baby, set me aflame

I’m all in on a young man’s game

I can dream like a child with faith in spades,

always knew I’d rather burn out than fade

It only takes one kiss to never be the same

You know I bet it all on a young man’s game

And if I’m in for a penny I’m in for a pound,

queen of hearts and her crooked crown

And I’ve got nobody but myself to blame

If I lose it all on a young man’s game

 

 

In Certain Company

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            MorganEve Swain – 49K Upright Bass

            Kieran Ledwidge – Violin

            Andrew Sovine –

            Daphne Lee Martin – Guild acoustic Guitar, Vocals

                        Written March 21, 2016.

You never told the truth when you were drinking                                                       

You never told the truth when you were straight                                                       

I will carry your secret to the Devil’s Door                                                             

But I don’t think I wanna see you any more

You were beautiful, talented, everyone adored you

And anything you could want, we would do it for you

But the darkness gets in under everybody’s skin in time

And I guess you thought you would be the one to make it out alive

Then there was all of this living we did alongside it

I was taken in by your desire to fight it

But like the pull of the Moon, its hold over you denied it

And strong as it was, my love was not enough to right it

When you’d had enough, you unleashed a wild cruelty

And in my pain and my fear I am destroying our history

I guess we only take photos of happier times

As I watch them blister and burn

 

 

Rainy Day Women #42

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            Eric Lichter – Fender Jazz Bass

            James Waine Carpenter – Acoustic Guitar

            Andrew Sovine –

Thor Robert Jensen – Epiphone Casino

Isaac Young – Hammond SK2 B3

Jonah Tolchin – Gratitele

All your rainy day women, you’ve got one in every town

Just to make sure that the road never gets you down

Never gets you down, never gets you down

But you didn’t much like your reflection down in the bottom of that glass

So you tried to give up the bottle but it didn’t last

No it didn’t last, no it didn’t last

Can’t figure why you still feel empty when everything is going right

You just wrap your knuckles ‘round it and hold on for dear life

Got to hold on tight, got to hold on, got to hold on tight

Got to hold on, got to hold on, got to hold on tight

We’re all searchin’ for somethin’ we know damn well we’re never gonna find

So we just tank up on our vices and try to pass the time

Got to pass the time

 

 

Break My Heart Tomorrow

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            Isaac Young – Hammond SK2 Piano, B3, synth strings

            Eric Lichter – Fender Jazz Bass, Vocals

            Jonah Tolchin – Vocals

                        Written summer 2014. This is a stand-alone, not part of a cycle.

There are those who would sin by silence,

and there are those who are always crying wolf

I am everything you’ve asked me to be and more, still it’s not enough

And I know you are not in love with me

But you are not the first to help me skin up my knees on wet blacktop in summer heat

But your love it has a hot head and cold feet

While mine is all blind desire and vanity

If it’s not too much to ask, would you just give me tonight

To rub these stars from my eyes, then you can break my heart tomorrow

You can break my heart tomorrow, just break my heart tomorrow

The life well-lived they say is the best revenge,

Easier said than done and I’d never look to hurt you

But you offer me my freedom as if that’s what I want,

as if somehow that would lighten my load

But you know your way around the darkness just as well as me

You ask about my silence though you know that I won’t speak

Just be here when I wake up, that’s all I really need

Cause I know that you are not in love with me

 

 

 

John Henry’s Lullaby

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            MorganEve Swain - Violin

            Eric Lichter – Fender Jazz Bass

            Isaac Young – Hammond SK2 Grand Piano, Wurlitzer

            Daphne Lee Martin – Vocals

                        Written summer 2014 about my best friend James Maple.

Should you ever find yourself broken, at a loss for the words to say       

You’ll find no rest in this beautiful mess, but I wouldn’t want you any other way

Should you ever find yourself faithless, feel like you’re sinking down

I don’t know much about heavenly stuff but I can help you get your feet on the ground

Should you ever find yourself weary you can lay all your burdens on me

And though we walk in the shadow of the valley of death

We will walk it together in peace

Should you ever find yourself beaten, steam-driven put away wet

Small hope I’ll afford, I have laid down my sword

But I haven’t laid my hammer down yet

Now I haven’t laid my hammer down yet, no I haven’t laid my hammer down yet

 

 

Fuck Tinder, I’m Standing Right Here

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            Eric Lichter – Fender Jazz Bass

            James Waine Carpenter – Epiphone Texan Acoustic Guitar

            Thor Jensen – Epiphone Casino?

            Andrew Sovine – electric guitar

Isaac Young – Hammond SK2 B3

Daphne Lee Martin – Vocals

Written at home Summer 2016, alongside In Certain Company, Young Man’s Game and Till We Meet Again as part of the same series. I have never been able to get my head around what online dating has become- the idea that you can shop for people like you’d shop for a rug, choose the size and shape and color without ever hearing their voice or looking into their eyes, and then dispose of them as easily. It frightens me, the idea of the attention getting that modern hookup culture champions as a surrogate for true affection built from shared interests. We built the arrangement and instrumentation to sound a little punky, erring on the side of Aimee Mann’s Magnolia Soundtrack.

One of these days, little darlin’ when you tire of all their pretty lies

You’ll find your faith in me has only grown with time

You’ll hear the West Coast callin’, Big sur still knows our names

As thought we’d never left, so my love for you remains

One of these days, one of these days, one of these days, one of these days

And though I may not be the one who got away

I am the one you call to tell about your day

One of these days, little darlin’ will be the last time I pick up

And feel my own heart break

when you tell me that you think she is the one

One of these days, little darlin’ you will miss the way I taste

You’ll scroll through your phone, lookin’ for another pretty face

Someone who’ll understand you and love you as you are

Still you know I’ll answer when you knock upon my door

 

 

Jack O’ Diamonds

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            MorganEve Swain – 49K Upright Bass

            Andrew Sovine – Les Paul Standard

            Daphne Lee Martin – Vocals

                        Written July 30, 2015.

Hey Jack O’ Diamonds, don’t I know you of old

I caught air on the water when I knew that I should fold

Now you’ve gotta be going, and my heart isn’t broken

Because it takes one to know one, still I hate to see you go

And I’ve never seen a wild thing sorry for itself

I’ll take your advice now and go back to being

The girl behind glass who looks like an angel you once knew

But I might leave the ashtray out a couple of more days

Because it is the last trace that you ever came through

And/No I’ve never seen a wild thing sorry for itself

And I have never been, never been

No I have never been one to start fires

But to rise from the ashes, first you must burn

 

Some Fool

            Kieran Ledwidge – Violin

            Thor Robert Jensen – Jerome Duffel Acoustic Guitar

            Daphne Lee Martin – Guild DCE5 , Vocals

Written April 14, 2016. I think this was a premonition for what was about  happen. My husband began to leave me the following month, and this was probably the first time I realized we had run our course. It was a way of already acknowledging that being away from home too long had helped to make us strangers.

For a few gentle months you lay down beside me

naked as you were born

Blue eyed, broken and hungry for a truth to unmake your scorn

Some fool in my heart said that you could be made whole

Some fool in my heart said the missing piece is you

When there were no lines to hold me I set out into a gale

And in the height of the storm I mistook an anchor for a sail

In the calm hereafter I see a glint of light

On the surface above me and I know that I must rise

If given a word with my younger self I wonder what I would say

Would I shatter my illusions or dive headlong

into mistakes I wish I’d made?

Some fool in my head said you know you think too much

Some fool in my head said you know it will never be enough

 

 

Songbirds

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            MorganEve Swain – 49K Upright Bass, Vocals

            John Faraone – Martin D41, Vocals

            Mike Savino – Banjo

            Eric Lichter – Fender Pedal Steel

            Daphne Lee Martin – Vocals

Written March 2014 in York, PA in JJ Sheffer’s living room after an incredible tour with James Maple. This is a love song to the city of Knoxville, TN and to an exceptional human being who lives there. I wrote the first two verses, and plotted out a rough idea of a melody until I got distracted by James doing a morning fake striptease to motivate me to go out for coffee. So I took what I wrote to John Faraone, a fantastic songwriter to see what he might make of it. He wrote the third verse and set his own melody, which we adopted as permanent. We demoed a version out and gave it to MorganEve Swain, who listened and wrote a third harmony, which appears on the album. Playing it live with Eric pushed us toward a Workingman’s Dead vibe and Tall Tall Trees played us a wonderful banjo accompaniment to fill it out.

The ocean’s always had a call too strong to disobey

But this time through these mountains damn near took my breath away

I was never one for stayin’ still, and I must keep travelin’ on

But I will make my way back to these hills before the leaves have turned and gone

I don’t wanna let you go just yet, can’t we lay here just a little longer

And listen to the songbirds callin’ in the day

Till the ghosts of the highway come to spirit me away?

Redemption comes in soft, pillowmarks across your cheek

Your face too close to focus on is the best thing that I’ve seen

And every day I’m out there chasin’ down this crazy dream

I will hear this valley calling me back to Tennessee

It’s true what they say about missing what you’ve had

I lay awake all night and I think of what you said

You won’t know where you belong until you’ve been away too long

My bags are packed for drivin’ but my home is in your arms

 

 

 

Willing Victim

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            MorganEve Swain – 49K Upright Bass

            Daphne Lee Martin – Guild DCE5, Vocals

Willing Victim was part of Fall On Your Sword and has had several incarnations, including a pretty sexy Daytrotter session version. For some reason, it just keeps asking to be played, a good warm-up at practices and generally great little moodsetter with plenty of room to jam. So we goofed with it at Dirt Floor and decided to throw it in the mix last minute. The lyrics are based on several pieces of literature, as all the songs from Fall On Your Sword. The opening about chains and carnations is from Neruda, the sympathy line is from Kerouac’s Satori in Paris, and most of the rest is based on Colette’s Vagabond. 

Dressed in chains and carnations, you practice your divination

And I am hopelessly lost in your prestige

Don't a ship need an anchor? And don't a ship need a sail?

Here I am making my bed in the belly of a whale

Lie to me, lie to me, please just be kind to me

I know I'll get no sympathy here

Ain't it sad how nothing binds us together like a common enemy?

Ain't it sad how nothing tears us apart like love from a stranger?

The bets we have hedged are gathering dark

Till the thunder rolls in and breaks them apart

Don't we fear what we hope for and hear what we want?

Now you leaf through the pages of my open book

And you ink in the margins one perfect hook

As I put on my makeup and the curtains rise

I know how this thing will end before the first line dries

 

 

I Hope I Never Meet the Bitch Who Broke Your Heart

            Isaac Young – Hammond SK2 Wurlitzer

            Andrew Sovine – electric guitar

            MorganEve Swain – Upright Bass

            Daphne Lee Martin – Vocals

 

Kick your boots up on my table, it’s so rare that I am able to fall

Your shoulder felt like home and I can’t help but wonder where you were 10 years ago

But I can hear it on your parted lips

And I can feel it in your fingertips

You are counting your mistakes like the freckles on this face you’d like to kiss

But I can see you have your reasons, so I’ll ask for nothing more than this

Won’t you pass that guitar over, your length of ash goes raining to the floor

But I will see you in the morning, hell it already is nearly down

I’ll take comfort in knowing that I got nothing but the timing wrong

Hey Georgia, you’ve been heavy on my mind

And I wonder what town you’re playing tonight

And who will be the one like me, who’ll take you home

I’ll take comfort in knowing I got nothing but the timing wrong

 

 

Till We Meet Again

            Matt Slobogan – 1965 Rodgers Holiday, Istanbul & Meinl Cymbals, Zildjian Hats

            MorgenEve Swain – Upright Bass

            Andrew Sovine – electric guitar

            Kieran Ledwidge – Violin

            Eric Lichter – Vocals

            Isaac Young – Hammond Sk2 B3

            Daphne Lee Martin – Guild DCE5, Vocals

Written Feb 21, 2015 in a hotel room in Delaware in a blizzard. Part of the series with Young Man’s Game, In Certain Company, and Fuck Tinder. This was the first in the song cycle, the starry-eyed departure for a very long time on the road. Like Songbirds, this wistful little piece is another reminder of how important it is to have a place to call home. And often, that is in the arms of someone you love rather than a pin in a map.

            You dropped your hat down onto my head

It was so big that it just fell over my ears

You just smiled and said

Come here, I wanna kiss you one more time

Come here, little darling of mine

I’ll give you something to remember me by

Before you go, before you go

That’s my demon at the gate and I cannot ask him to wait

But you can kiss away the sorrow till we meet again

Before I go, before I go

My head fills with the song that you played

And as my scent on your pillow fades

I don’t think that I will ever be the same

Without you, without you

 

 

 

 

Mix Engineer – Steve WytasMastered by James Waine Carpenter

Some Fool, Songbirds, Break My Heart Tomorrow – Produced by Eric Lichter

All other songs Produced by Daphne Lee Martin, Eric Lichter and Jonah Tolchin

All songs written by Daphne Lee Martin © 2018 Les Petites Morts

Except Songbirds, written by Daphne Lee Martin & John Faraone

Produced by Daphne Lee Martin, Eric Lichter, and Jonah Tolchin

Mix Engineer : Steve Wytas

Mastering by James Waine Carpenter