Martha Redbone

Award-winning Native & African American singer-songwriter

Martha Redbone is one of the most vital voices in American roots music. A multi award-winning musician, the charismatic songstress is celebrated for her tasty gumbo of roots music embodying the folk and mountain blues sounds of her childhood in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky, mixed with the eclectic grit of her teenage years in pre-gentrified Brooklyn. With her gospel-singing father’s voice and the spirit of her Cherokee/Choctaw mother’s culture, Redbone broadens the boundaries of American Roots music with songs and storytelling that share her life experience as an Indigenous Black woman and mother in the new millennium. Redbone gives voice to issues of social justice, bridging traditions from past to present, connecting cultures and celebrating the human spirit.

Redbone will perform Bone Hill—The Concert, inspired by her own life and stories of the women from which she descends. The lives of the Bone family members are driven by songs that span a swath of American music, almost telling a parallel history—from traditional Cherokee songs and lullabies to bluegrass, blues, gospel, jazz, rock & roll, and rhythm & blues.

Created by Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby, Bone Hill is an epic story of one woman’s return to her childhood homeland on Black Mountain and the coal mines of Harlan County, KY, where her family have dwelled for centuries. Traveling back in time to her childhood and her ancestors spanning four generations of women in a Cherokee family, Bone Hill explores their lives and stories. It is a story about the family’s connection to the land, the simplicity and sacredness of that connection, and the ruptures that threaten to extinguish it. This piece reveals erased, forgotten truths and it does so with humor, pathos and exuberance.

Her album The Garden of Love (Songs of William Blake), produced by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder and Grammy-winner John McEuen, is an unexpected twist—“a brilliant collision of cultures” (The New Yorker)—featuring Redbone’s magnificent voice, Blake’s immortal words and a masterful cornucopia of roots music (blues, gospel, bluegrass, soul and traditional southeastern Woodlands). Her debut, Home of the Brave, garnered extremely positive critical attention—Billboard raved “stunning album, the kind of woman who sets trends”—while her sophomore album, Skintalk, described as the soulful sound of “Earth, Wind and Fire on the rez” (J. Poet, Native Peoples Magazine), took her music to Europe and the Far East.

Over the years, Redbone  has performed and recorded with many great artists, including Bonnie Raitt, George Clinton, Judy Collins, Joan Osborne, Steven Van Zandt, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Nona Hendryx, Lisa Fischer, Steve Martin, David Amram, Randy Brecker, Tony Trischka, John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John Carter Cash, Ben Sollee and Tom Chapin, among many others.

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Artist Links

Martha Redbone website

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