The Edge of the Continent

A few months ago I had a minor epiphany: I realized that I had become one of those San Diegans who loves the beach, makes a point of always living near the beach, but never actually goes to the beach. We live on the edge of the continent. It’s an awe-inspiring geographical position. Somehow I’d lost touch with that awe.

So I started taking long beach walks, almost every day. It’s been hard this week seeing all of the sign postings “Waters Closed”. It was hard knowing that my old vet Dr. Martin, one of those rare truly compassionate men on the planet, had died such a hard death in those waters. And it brought back memories of my two little pets and how hard it was to lose them over the years and how much harder it would have been without Dr. Martin’s kindness and understanding.

But today was a glorious day at the beach. It was a low, low tide. So low that I had a wealth of hard-packed sand, hardly another soul in sight, and I could close my eyes and walk for great lengths without fear of straying into the water or bumping into another beach goer. The waves were so loud that the crashing became a sort of arrhythmic accompaniment to the music I was listening to on my Rio MP3 player, an album by a favorite songwriter, Christopher Dallman’s Race the Light.

Do you have certain almost reflexive movements that your body makes when you’re completely overtaken by music you love? For me, my eyes close and my hands come up and they do a little unconscious slow dance all by themselves. That’s what happens when I listen to Christopher. The music is powerful, the melodies and song structure are unconventional and moving, and the lyrics are arresting and significant.

Everybody who knows me knows how I feel about a certain rock-convention rhythm arrangement. Ordinarily, the combination of a drum set and an electric bass backbone just sets my teeth on edge. I loved the pop/rock sound as a teenager in the 70s, I tolerated it through the 80s, and now I’m tired of it! Although Christopher uses both instruments somewhat liberally in his arrangements, I hardly even notice after the first measure. The songwriting and the voice (beautiful, unusual, exciting technique) are that good. If you want your own copy, you can get Race the Light at my favorite online store CD Baby. Christopher needs to record more. If you get a chance, tell him I said so, ok?

If you haven’t been by Acoustic Pie this week there’s a new featured artist, Krista Detor. She’s an amazing pianist/singer/songwriter and she has a new album out this month called Cover Their Eyes. If you’d like to hear a startlingly original piano-based acoustic album, then try out her glorious previous CD Mudshow. If you love a jazzy, nostalgic sound with the same superior musicianship, production, and lazy, sensual vocals, rush out and get the new album Cover their Eyes. I love them both and both are available at, you guessed it, my favorite online album store.

As always, thanks for reading!

Kelley Martin
April 2008


Christopher Dallman

Krista Detor

CD Baby


One Response to The Edge of the Continent

  1. TheRickster says:

    Loved reading about living at the edge of the continent, and I know just that hand jive that happens when music carries me aloft. I confess, I’m from the school of rock that says “It’s got a backbeat you can’t lose it” and every band I played in all those years ago made sure the bottom was as strong as could be before adding on top. I will never tire of it, it’s in my dna, my blood, and I think my brain organized all my higher brain functions around it. But I do so love songs where the voice lifts me and carries above that bottom wave. Great blog, THANK YOU for the tip, I’ll be checking out this artist because of your recommendation!

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