Three Sheets On Four Strings
By Jonathan Perry
in a while, an artist or a band comes along that makes music so graceful and
haunting – so compelling – that it quietly obliterates everything else in its
path. In 1996, songwriter Jeff Martin is that artist and
Three Sheets To The Wind (Caroline), Idaho’s third
full-length album which was released earlier this year, is the kind of record
that pitches you deep into the dead of night and lingers with you there; the
kind of record that convinces you that three o’clock in the morning is the
perfect time of day – the only time –
and makes you wish the moments would last forever. Or at
least a little while longer. Needless to say, Three Sheets is already threatening to be
The disc, a languorous, moody beauty that at once sounds intensely personal yet magnanimous and open is freighted with the measured movement, hushed vocals and minor-chord drama that characterizes the slow-core melancholy of bands like Acetone, Red House Painters and American Music Club. But Martin’s gift for writing utterly magnificent songs with lyrics like “late December is what I’m feeling” somehow make labels like “slow-core” seem silly, trivial. And his penchant for odd tunings on his signature four string guitars shade Martin’s songs with strange, hazy colors.
Before assembling a bona fide band for the new album, Martin – a classically trained pianist who began writing music in earnest in 1992 – basically recorded two albums as Idaho on his own (with the help of a small backing band on his second outing This Way Out, also on Caroline).
current – and, for now permanent –