312: ‘Go Easy, Kid’–Monica Martin (“stories”)

Before I start rambling, watch this clip. Watch it till the end.
I entreat you.
I beseech you.
I implore you.
With your undivided attention.
Because it’s so good it deserves your undivided attention,
and because you’ll thank me for it.

Grumpy Rant

In the Good Old Days, if you knew the Top 40, you knew everything. Some of us obsessives needed to check out the New LPs bin every couple of weeks. And then for sure you knew everything there was to know.

Then came the internet and all that stuff, and it all got out of hand. Who could keep up? As Sam Miller, lead singer of Decapede, said in disgust: “Fucking Twenty-First Century.”

I can’t keep up with all the new music in the cyberverse, but I do sniff around the young ‘uns here and there, and sometimes find some gems. This time I found the gem (‘Go Easy, Boy’) inside a treasure chest (stories), a music channel.

I think.


We all have our weaknesses. For some it’s wine, for some it’s cocaine, for some it’s nostalgia.

There’s this ‘thing’ called stories. It’s a project, kindasorta: “We make stripped-down orchestral covers of original music with a rotating cast of songwriters composed by the chamber group, yMusic. Brought to you by the team behind Scary Pockets.” Scary Pockets is a kindasorta funk project, Jack Conte and a guy I don’t know. Jack is married to the very talented Nataly Dawn, the other half of Pomplamoose. Jack also kindasorta invented Patreon, which is a wonderful platform where you can throw a couple of bucks at rising artists you would like to encourage.

stories is a treasure chest of intelligent, tasteful ear candy:
It’s 27 albums of covers, music you could listen to all day long with a wistful, nostalgic smile at the memories of what you were doing when you were even younger and actually living life. Presented here in quiet reflection. Muzak for the 21st century, Muzak you would pay for to have on your car radio. You could drive from Alabam to the Zodiac and never change the channel, because it’s just that sweet, hour after hour.

The formats vary, the template being two acoustic guitars and a chick, but there don’t seem to be any other rules other than keeping it chill. The singers vary from well-established indie artists to more obscure ones, but the level rarely goes below ear-pleasing, occasionally really grabs me and occasionally stops me in my tracks (like a new video of Jackson Browne’s ‘These Days’ by the divine Rachael Price, my very favorite young singer.) Some of them I know (respect, respect), lots I don’t.

Let’s take one album at random, “Volume 17”: ‘Sweet Caroline’ — Jake Sherman (Neil Diamond); ‘Leave the Door Open’—Danielle Withers (Bruno Mars); ‘New Light’—Leone (John Mayer); ‘The Climb’—Arlissa (Miley Cyrus); ‘Fast Car’—Gerald Wicks (Luke Combs/Tracy Chapman); ‘Dancing Queen’—Lizzy McAlpine (Abba); ‘Helplessly Hoping’—Nikki Segal, Lilliana De Los Reyes, Carlye Porrazzo (CS&N); ‘Kiss Me’—Astyn Turr (Sixpence None the Richer); ‘Kodachrome’—J.E. Sunde (Paul Simon); ‘Man in the Mirror’—Softie (Michael Jackson).

Monica Martin

When I discovered ‘Go Easy, Kid’, it had 750 views. Four months later, it has 15,000. Good for you, Monica. You gave me a two-week earworm, and we all know that a two-week earworm is no laughing matter.

I urge you. I beseech you. I implore you. Check out this young, barely-known-by-adults Monica Martin. I’d tell you more if I could, but her website is empty.

All I could find there was this: Monica is still figuring out who she is, but quite happy to share her cautionary tales: “I made hundreds of mistakes so you don’t have to.” After a good long think, Monica has decided to release the first song from a new collection. It’s called “Go Easy Kid”.

Here’s Monica’s official audio version of ‘Go Easy, Kid’.

Here’s a live video where she’s backed by a solo guitar.

Here she’s dueting on it with James Blake, a fascinating young ‘un I discussed back in SoTW 167.

And here she is covering Leon Russell’s great ‘A Song for You’ (SoTW 093).

Go Easy, Kid

One of the many things that impress me so much about Monica’s song ‘Go Easy, Kid’ is that it’s no callow, sophmoric outpouring. The finely crafted lyrics and the well-wrought melody make this a song that deserves great respect and attention and many covers. And that’s not to mention the riveting poised, dramatic ‘stories’ performance.

I commit myself to sabotage
See, I can get what I want, then I’ll make it hard to hold on.
Convince myself that I’m without a god
A spiritual fraud who got lost in her own sad song.

We were talking out back by the garbage cans
About dreams that we had and the five-year plan
Missing the mark, we’re laughing in the dark
‘Cause after all, no one’s in control
Go easy, kid, it’s only rock and roll.

Pledge allegiance to some sanity
It comes into view for a moment or two, then it leaves me.
Apologizing to the neighborhood
And all the calls will be saved, look, I’d wanna be brave if I could.

I was talking out back with the garbage man, he said.
“Remember times that we had before you got in that way?”
Left me in the dark, alone in the park
‘Cause after all, no one’s in control
Go easy, kid, it’s only rock and roll.

Cut through the smoke
There’s no secret special code
No deeper hidden wisdom,
Just accept we’ll never know.

We were talking out back by the garbage cans
‘Bout dreams that we had and the five-year plan
Missing the mark, laughing in the dark
‘Cause after all, no one’s in control
Go easy, kid
In twenty years, kid, you’re gonna look back
And wish you grabbed it all by the throat
And said, “Fuck it, it’s only rock and roll”.