Marty Lloyd’s musical Marigold
By Andy Argyrakis
From the pages of the official publicity biography
Armed with an acoustic guitar, an inquisitive croon, and a mix between autobiographical and narrative styled lyricism, the Chicago-bred L.A. transplant Marty Lloyd is the antithesis to all of the corporately-crafted pop music that has been infiltrating the mainstream over the last few years. On his first solo offering Marigold, Marty Lloyd showcases his uncanny ability to construct clever anthems overflowing with sentiment and sensibility - a gift that may very well deem him the savior of today's generation of musical sinners.
"I write songs to move people and to touch them. If I'm able to be even minutely inspirational to them, then that's the successful side to this type of career." Such a humble approach, laden with deeply rooted integrity, are at the forefront of Lloyd's latest artistic rendering, Marigold, marking his first endeavor since co-fronting the Freddy Jones Band. The eclectic jam-based outfit first took Chicago by storm in the early 90's with their infectious live performances, which eventually lead to a multi-album record deal with Capricorn and work with acclaimed producer Justin Niebank (Eric Clapton, John Hiatt). Whether on the road with The H.O.R.D.E. Festival, touring with groups like Blues Traveler and Dave Matthews Band, or having the Lloyd-penned gems "In a Daydream" and "One World" on the radio, the Freddy Jones Band's success affronted this modern day troubadour with a first rate music industry education.
"Even though I'd technically be considered a new artist, I've been around the block before so I know what I'm getting myself into this time," laughs Lloyd. "Having my own name on this album makes it all the more exciting and it's really been quite liberating. Recording a solo project is a much more of a 'cut to the chase' kind of process that allows you to only have to account for your own creative license."
Indeed the Marigold sessions took place solely on Lloyd's terms without other official band members to run things by or the looming shadow of a record label's A&R rep adding pressure to please. Instead, Lloyd simply set up partial shop in his Chicago home studio, re-enlisted the production efforts of Niebank (subsequently laying down additional tracks in Niebank's Nashville based studio) while also calling upon FJB alumnus Rob Bonaccorsi and Shawn Colvin player Michael Rhodes for instrumental accompaniment. "I went about the process completely reversed this time," chuckles Lloyd, who finished the entire project before shopping it around. "I didn't just want to give a label some demos and then have them tell me how they wanted the record to sound. I wanted it to sound homespun and have a label be happy with the exact way I recorded it."
By the time the finished product was completed in early 2002, it only took Lloyd a few months to reach the ears of Razor & Tie executives thanks to Niebank, who was already connected with the label after producing The Clarks' latest album. Razor & Tie quickly fell in love with the organic undertaking, releasing it under Lloyd's exact specifications right down to the original instrumentation, production, and sequencing.
The result is an 11-track collection spanning a range of influences, from classic acts like The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, to current trendsetters David Gray, Ryan Adams, and Wilco. Like the muses on this revered list, Lloyd weaves an imagery filled web across rootsy acoustic soundscapes, starting with the album's declaratory opening track "Justified." With a message of personal empowerment and validation for a major life decision, the liberating composition sets the tone for the record, with Lloyd carrying his own torch of independence. Immediately following is the melodic jangle of "American Dream," during which he analyzes the pursuit of a utopian societal existence. "I wrote that song while FJB was still going, and since it didn't make in on any of those records, it became the benchmark for the new batch," Lloyd recalls. "It's kind of a romantic tragedy about naivete where I'm sarcastically looking at characters from some of the crazy stories I've read in the newspaper or envisioned from a movie." "American Dream" was featured alongside tracks from John Mayer & Howie Day on the 8th edition of indie label AWARE's cutting edge compilations.
Additional standouts include the sonic delicacy of "Where We Started From," the free flowing chord progression of "Love, Josephine," and the glowing jubilation found on the album's finale "Dancing Here With You." However, it's the soul-searching introspection of "Sinking Like a Stone" that truly makes the record sparkle. "I talk about the need for people to come together," reveals Lloyd. "It's a very spiritual song because there's really more to our existence to just existing. We're not alone in this life."
As Lloyd packs his bags to hit the road in support of the project, he assures fans that he won't be alone during such live presentations. Although the touring group's lineup may have the tendency to rotate, it just might feature some friendly faces from his Freddy Jones Band days. However, Lloyd insists his plans are to take the solo experience to its fullest potential rather than revel in the past. "I feel smarter now about setting short term, attainable goals for myself than I did in the group where we focused on long term plans," concludes Lloyd. "When you do that, it somewhat clouds your vision of the immediate future, which for me right now is to just simply get these songs out to as many people as will listen and hopefully impact them in some positive way."
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