Track Review: Annie Martel's "Ashes"
Written by Emily Guthrie-Plouffe
Beginning with an enticing, acoustic rhythmic undertone reminiscent of the song-writing of Canadian folk icon Gordon Lightfoot, Annie Martel’s (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) folk ballad Ashes wastes no time drawing the listener into what quickly feels like a raw, honest and emotional conversation with a close friend. Her voice, too, is bathed in Canadiana; deep, dulcet tones and a vulnerable vibrato bring Serena Ryder to mind, and paint Martel’s subject as a reserved, melancholic character.
Lyrically gifted, Martel brings to life the familiar story of a love gone wrong, packed with nostalgia and leaving you longing to dance with your first love one last time. Described by Martel as “nighttime music of love and hate,” the familiar words of heartache pair perfectly with the classic instrumentation: a thoughtful blend of guitar, piano, percussion and strings that greets you layer by layer like a funeral cake, sweet and sad all at once. By the time the song has ended, you’ve likely been both swaying and weeping for the past four minutes, and yet, there is also a hopeful resolve to better things to come, and a sense that your friend has come out the other side that much stronger.