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Music

Martha Spencer Greets Autumn's End in "The Last Leaves" (premiere)

Photo: Christy Baird / Courtesy of Hearth Music

Met by melancholic fiddle and warm, honeyed vocals, Appalachian artist Martha Spencer laments "the last leaves" of autumn in her new single.

On her upcoming self-titled album, Martha Spencer crafts music related to her roots. Surrounded by mountain music for as long as she could remember through her internationally-acclaimed string-playing parents, Thornton and Emily Spencer, the singer-songwriter has been coined a true daughter of Appalachia. Albeit, there's not much saccharine or forthrightly nostalgic that Spencer is offering with her reinvigorated take on old-school country and string band music. Instead, she dabbles these classic influences in the blues alongside a swath of reflective, poetic lyrics. Case in point is her latest single, "The Last Leaves", a pensive tune that bemoans autumn's end.

Melancholic fiddle reflects Spencer's Blue Ridge roots right away, with her warm, honeyed croon evoking a rich lilt similar to the likes of Dolly Parton or Patsy Cline. The subtle blues of longing pedal steel and fingerpicking blend effortlessly into the song's cozy effervescence, although something bittersweet lays just underneath the surface of its sweet arrangement. Spencer tells PopMatters, "'The Last Leaves' is maybe the saddest song on the album. It's about the melancholy feeling that the end of autumn can bring at times when the warmth of summer is over, and the last leaves are falling from the trees. Everything seems bare and dying."

"It can be a reminder of another year gone and the way time keeps flying. I wrote this song towards the end of a relationship and when my house was needing a lot of work done. (still does, ha) The fall time can be a bit of a sentimental hard time for me, I had a real dear friend get murdered several years ago and then this past fall, my dad, who was I was very close to, got sick and passed. So, this song kind of represents some of that sadness as "the last leaves" of the year go away. It featured some of my good friends: Alex Leach on guitar and harmony vocal, Frank Rische on bass and harmony vocal, Billy Hurt Jr. on fiddle, Andy Gibson on steel guitar, and myself on guitar as well."

Spencer's self-titled album releases on 26 October. Digital and physical pre-orders are available via Bandcamp.

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