Martin Kerr might be the only artist in the world to have played 300 live shows this year. When Covid-19 cancelled all his touring and festival plans for 2020, he launched Stay Home Street Concerts instead. As soon as the snow melted (in his adopted hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) he was out on the streets every day, bringing music and hope to the masses, one block at a time.
From their driveways, balconies and front lawns, every show finished with the whole street singing ‘You’re Amazing’, the uplifting, instantly singable hit from Kerr’s latest album. (It's earned radio play across Canada, the UK and the Netherlands and climbed to #4 on the Spotify Viral Chart.)
Aptly titled ‘Everything Is Under Control’ the album was released just before the pandemic hit, yet each song seems to fit the zeitgeist of 2020. Anyone sick of endless electioneering and empty political promises will relate to the foot-stomping protest song ‘Good Old Days’. Drenched in glorious pop-irony, ‘Reason’ is an excoriating, cathartic rant at the death of decency in the post-truth age, with musical echoes of Pumped-Up Kicks. “You can tell me anything you want, anything you want, I will believe it” goes the singalong chorus. Not everyone will get it, even as it gets stuck in their head.
'Enemy' - a stadium pop power-ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Coldplay set - seems to be about a relationship gone wrong, but on second listen you hear the layers of social commentary, a lament to the polarized times we’re living in. Its the 4th track from this album to be picked up by CBC for national airplay, along with major playlists on Stingray, Sirius XM, Spotify and Amazon Music. You've probably heard it somewhere.
The intimate 'Magic Beans' sounds like a lullaby for the end of the world:
"It’s been a long night, your eyes are burning. Hold tight, the sky is turning. Some lights gonna make it through the dark".
In dark times we all need to find hope. Somehow, against all the odds, Martin Kerr is bringing music to people face-to-face, building community one street, one song at a time.
His next project, almost ready for release, is a collaborations album featuring 8 of his favourite local artists. Genre-hopping from folk to hip-hop, pop, soul, funk and back to his intimate singer-songwriter vibe, each song has a different flavour but a common thread of supporting each other through hard times. The first single, Delicate Love will feature R&B singer Josh Sahunta, a top-3 finalist from this year’s CBC searchlight contest.