New Artist Spotlight: Winfield’s Locket

by Bob Doerschuk

Start with sibling synchronicity.  Add plenty of talent, parceled out individually to both Brooke and Leslie Martin.  For final sweetening, place them in Denham Springs, La., where they could grow up in a musically diverse milieu of old-school gospel, swampy blues, Southern rock, straight-ahead Country and whatever else wafted in their direction from nearby New Orleans.

What do you get? The answer lies in the self-titled debut of Winfield’s Locket, the nom de tune embraced by the Martin sisters in the studio and onstage.  Co-produced by the Martins, Jason Henke and Ilya Toshinskiy, formerly of the band Bering Strait, and released by This Side Up Records, these 12 tracks were all co-written by Leslie, with Brooke’s credit on 11.

Their history as collaborators stretches back to when they were both around 4 years old, and you can hear it in their sure-handed craftsmanship.  The diversity in their taste is evident too, from the deep-fried slide guitar on “Worth the Drive,” written by Brooke, Leslie and Alan Bennett, to the urgent blend of prickly banjo and electric guitar power chords on their first single, “Save Yourself.”

That track, written by both sisters and Paul Sikes, fits the pattern established throughout Winfield’s Locket of alternating solo and harmonized vocals with equal ease in every setting.  They draw unexpectedly from Celtic ballad tradition on “In a Letter,” written by the Martins with their mother Barbara Martin, Henke and Jessica June Rose, saunter through the R&B feel and a cappella vocal hook of “Is This Ever Gonna End,” written by Leslie and Barbara Martin and Tim Johnson, and push more assertively on the ones that slam harder.  Where both elements coexist, as in the intimate verses and punchier triplet beats on the chorus of “No Place to Hide,” penned by the team that gave us “In a Letter,” they tie it all together with little apparent effort but plenty of soul.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS Q&A

MUSICAL HEROES
LESLIE: “Mom and dad.  My sisters and I were surrounded by music since we were born.  Dad’s singing and keyboard playing and mom’s love for writing were very inspiring.”

SONG YOU SING IN THE SHOWER
LESLIE: “Usually something jammin’ and soulful.  Love the acoustics in there.”
BROOKE: “Everything under the sun!”

SONG YOU WISH YOU’D WRITTEN
LESLIE: “’I Can’t Make You Love Me’ by Bonnie Raitt.”
BROOKE: “’I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ by Aerosmith.”

SONG YOU’D SECRETLY LOVE TO COVER
BOTH: “‘Give Me Up Again,’ by Jonny Lang.”

PHRASE YOU SAY OVER AND OVER
BROOKE: “Are you serious?”
LESLIE: “Thank God.”

ACTRESS TO PORTRAY YOU IN A BIOPIC
LESLIE: “Reese Witherspoon.”

GREATEST PERFORMANCE
BROOKE: “Singing for my Aunt Billie in Paducah, Ky., just a few months before she went to meet Jesus.”

SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
BROOKE: “I love to fish.  To me, there’s not a whole lot better than that.”
LESLIE: “I graduated from LSU with a degree in biological sciences.”

On the web: http://www.myspace.com/winfieldslocket

© 2011 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

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