Exclusive: Interview with Martha Bassett of The Martha Bassett Show
by Neha Nataraju
The ArtsCenter is proud to partner with The Martha Bassett Show to bring you old-time folk music right to your homes on the third Saturday of every month! Join us this Saturday, March 20th at 7pm as we stream The Martha Bassett Show, featuring Bill and the Belles, Snüzz, Abigail Dowd, and of course, Martha Bassett and her band.
In preparation for Saturday’s concert, we sat down with Martha to ask some questions about her, the show, and this week’s musical guests.
To start us off, can you give me a brief description of The Martha Bassett Show?
MB: Yes! We are in our fourth season now and we started in response to a request from the owners of the Reeves Theatre to perform there regularly after the theatre’s grand opening. My partner Pat, the show’s producer and one of the band members, and I came up with this show. We wanted to go a little deeper into our own community. The idea was to bring artists to us, bring traffic and engagement to our region through guest artists, whether it was artists I have befriended or artists I always wanted to work with. We generally have three spots on our show, excluding my band who always starts the show off and back up the artists on their material. We bring on a national act, and typically with more travel, we bring on more regional acts, and finally, a local act. We try our best to diversify each individual show by inviting unique acts who aren’t very similar, incorporating different genres, and filling in any “gaps” through the music our band plays. This variety of music gives us creative freedom and a diverse set list.
Can you explain a bit about your musical background, including the music you write/sing for the show?
MB: Sure, so I started out as a classical musician, as a classical singer. I was actually 30 when I first did something that wasn’t classic and that was a swing band. Since then, I’ve done swing, jazz, Americana, some folk, some old-time music, and more. My writing tends to be either in the old-time folk realm or the swing realm, and there is a little bit of variety in between. In the show, I do a lot more than my own music. Sometimes I learn songs just for the show and I do whatever is needed for each individual show, but there are other songwriters in my band and I often feature their songs too.
MB: In your own words, could you describe each of the acts in your live stream show this Saturday?
A: Sure! Well, I’ll start with Bill and the Belles, who are out of Tennessee. They really encompass that old-time radio show music sound, three-part harmonies, and they do jingles. They actually have a TV show and radio show in Tennessee. We love what they do, they are so fun and comedic, and musically, they are super tight, love them. Next, we have Snüzz, who is a North Carolina treasure. He is a very established pop artist, who has been writing and playing music for at least thirty years. He is kind of a Greensboro icon and a producer as well. He just has a really unique, wonderful pop sound. Last but not least, we have Abigail Dowd, who is your quintessential, up-and-coming singer-songwriter in the folk genre. She is more introspective, and is a wonderful new artist that people need to hear. So, we have some out-of-towners who everyone may not be familiar with but they are on the national stage. We have Snüzz who is an iconic N.C. artist that many people may know and we have Abigail who is pretty famous in Greensboro and needs to be famous in more places. This lineup is a pretty good representation of what all our shows look like, in terms of variety and our show’s conscious efforts to have an equal number of women and men on the show, just like my band.
We asked Martha more questions which she kindly took the time to answer, and we hope to release follow-up blog posts with her answers to other questions before each event each month so stay tuned!
Please join us the stream this Saturday (3/20) from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm and consider donating to support these amazing, talented artists. Get your tickets here: https://artscenterlive.org/performance/live-stream-the-martha-bassett-show/
For more information on The Martha Bassett Show, check out their website for shows, radio details and more: https://marthabassettshow.com/
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions you would like us to ask Martha in future interviews. We hope to “see” you all at the show!