Kipyn Martin, voice of an angel and heart of a saint.
And of course, she plays a Gibson and uses a Fishman sound system.
Last night was a special night for me and the 20 plus family and friends that gathered with me. I think I understand now where the phrase “packed house” comes from. Though it wasn’t really packed, just full of life and music.
It was the first “Passin’ Through” house show I and Greg Tutwiler, publisher of American Music Magazine, have hosted. And it was perfect. We sat in the living room of the Home Place on Sunny Slope Farm. In the large living room I built onto the farm house that my great, great grandfather John Wampler built in 1872. We gathered around the fireplace that warmed Kipyn Martin and her guitar as she warmed our hearts & souls and opened minds.
Kipyn Martin is a young artist with a rich, old soul. She grew up in West Virginia, in the low lands of the Shenandoah Valley near the Shenandoah River. Her lyrics run as deep as that river and sore higher than our mountain peaks. She took my heart to places last night it had missed for years. The tears and smiles I saw emerging throughout the evening told me that she was doing the same was happening for others.
Most of her songs seemed to be birthed out of her own life experiences. But somehow, as she sang, I felt as though she was singing my life songs and those of others sitting in the room. Some were infact.
As part of her kickstarter campaigns she uses to raise money for new albums, she writes songs for some of the contributors. Some end up on her albums. She sang a few of those too last night.
I would love to be able to tell you which song was my favorite. But I cannot pick one, not yet. I need to rest in her lyrics and the warmth of last evening. The memory of her words, “I can tell from what I know about Harry and his family, that music has long been in the wood of this house” make me smile this morning.
I can, however, tell you which song was the most poignant to me. It was “God is Love.” Michael Granberry, and Arts Writer stated it well in an article I found this morning as I pondered last evening.
“’God Is Love’ is a song our nation needs to hear, warning of the sin of using religion as a weapon to justify misguided political or social beliefs that do anything but show “God Is Love.” The song closes with lyrics that serve as a gentle but forceful reminder of how it should be, a truth Martin, now 30, said she learned in a loving Presbyterian church that opens its doors to all:
God is love and love abides
And when we meet with the rejected
That our arms can open wide
God is love and love is kind
And when ideas steeped in fear close our hearts
We can open and change our minds.”
There was a story she told for each song. Sometimes, they were so compelling to her and us that she forgot to tune her Gibson guitar, personal pronoun she, during them. But we did not mind and she laughed it away with us as she tuned up and down all six strings like the classically trained guitarist she is. As we chatted at the end of the night and I thanked her, I had to tease her about the precision of her tuning. There was a story for that too.
Kipyn Martin and her life songs inspired me last evening. I think that they will inspire many. One day soon, I imagine, she will become way too big for my large living room. I hope so.
I write this in hopes that my words will move you to listen to her words. So that she might warm your heart & soul and open your mind as well.