Winfield’s Locket is proving that the art of creating timeless music definitely isn’t a thing of the past. With an unforgettable vintage-yet-fresh, roots-meets-soul sound that effortlessly bridges the best elements of the music from years gone by with a contemporary twist, the talented sisters from Denham Springs, Louisiana, are making a lasting impression.
Unmistakable sibling harmonies, emotive vocal performances, pristine musicianship and remarkable songs that stretch conventional boundaries and expectations are just a few things Winfield’s Locket is quickly becoming known for with music lovers, critics, fellow artists and songwriters and industry insiders alike. There is no doubt they have something special.
Leslie and Brooke Martin are sisters and close friends who grew up in a musical family. Over the years, they have grown to know each other’s musical tendencies well and have become magical musical collaborators – versatile composers, vocalists, musicians and producers – who complement each other so well there is no doubt they were meant to create music together. When their talents are combined, the result is nothing short of extraordinary.
Born and raised in Louisiana less than 100 miles from the world-renowned French Quarter in New Orleans, the two quickly developed a love for music singing Gospel songs and hymns in church, all the while absorbing the diverse music the southern swampland has to offer. The result is music that is watermarked with a truly unique combination of genre-blurring elements – undercurrents of Gospel, Rock, and Pop intricately interwoven through their own eclectic brand of Country Soul.
Winfield's Locket emerged from the studio with a special collection of songs that comprise their self-titled debut CD. Produced by highly-regarded Grammy nominated multi-instrumentalist/producer Ilya Toshinskiy (formerly of Bering Strait), Winfield's Locket and Jason Henke, Winfield's Locket features 12 songs co-written by the talented duo. From the jangling, radio-ready hooks of "Fast," to the driving electri-banjofied "Save Yourself" and the ambitious mandolin and bazouki-flavored composition, "No Place To Hide," the album showcases Winfield's Locket's ability to create meaningful and memorable music.
Winfield's Locket, released independently on This Side Up Records, has generated glowing reviews:
Music Row’s Robert K. Oermann:
“Get it [their CD]…for a DisCovery Award, you can’t do much better than Winfield’s Locket...their vocals are fierce and fine.”
Matt Bjorke, founder of Roughstock.com, wrote about Winfield’s Locket in a piece for 101 Distribution:
“If an artist has crafted something that’s on par (or better than) what major labels would be putting out themselves, why not pick up a self-financed and released recording? There are plenty of examples of artists with recording that are mainstream-ready or ‘critical’ favorites with recordings that present the artists as they truly want to be presented on record…The same thing can be said for a duo called Winfield’s Locket. They have produced an album with their management company (Kenny Rogers’ Dreamcatcher Entertainment) and it is another fine example of something that could add to country’s mainstream.”
The duo was recently featured in CMA Close Up – the official publication of the Country Music Association – in its Debut Spotlight. The piece speaks highly of Winfield’s Locket and the debut record:
“Start with sibling synchronicity. Add plenty of talent, parceled out individually to both Brooke and Leslie Martin. For final sweetening, place them in Denham Springs, La., where they could grow up in a musically diverse milieu of old-school gospel, swampy blues, Southern rock, straight-ahead Country and whatever else wafted in their direction from nearby New Orleans. What do you get? The answer lies in the self-titled debut of Winfield’s Locket, the nom de tune embraced by the Martin sisters in the studio and onstage.
Their history as collaborators stretches back to when they were both around 4 years old, and you can hear it in their sure-handed craftsmanship. The diversity in their taste is evident, too, from the deep-fried slide guitar on ‘Worth the Drive’ to the urgent blend of prickly banjo and electric guitar power chords on their first single, ‘Save Yourself.’ That track, written by both sisters and Paul Sikes, fits the pattern established throughout Winfield’s Locket of alternating solo and harmonized vocals with equal ease in every setting.
They draw unexpectedly from Celtic ballad tradition on ‘In a Letter,’ saunter through the R&B feel and a cappella vocal hook of ‘Is This Ever Gonna End’ and push more assertively on the ones that slam harder…where both elements coexist, as in the intimate verses and punchier triplet beats on the chorus of ‘No Place to Hide,’ they tie it all together with little apparent effort but plenty of soul.”
Winfield’s Locket experienced one of the thrills of a lifetime when they appeared as a featured guest artist on Kenny Rogers’ acclaimed record, The Love Of God, which debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, #2 on the Top Christian Albums chart and #31 on the Billboard Top 200 following its release. The sisters sing with the music legend on the classic, “In The Sweet By And By” – a hymn Rogers says was his mother’s favorite song. It’s one of the most authentic roots/bluegrass‐flavored songs the Grammy Award‐winning icon has ever recorded.
“Listen closely to the background voices on ‘In The Sweet By And By’ and you’ll hear the unique harmonies of country duo Winfield’s Locket,” Rogers writes in the liner notes of The Love Of God. “They – like me – have been influenced by gospel music from a very early age. The sisters have a sound based on the way they layer their harmonies, the timbre of their voices, and the way they phrase. I was so glad we could find a moment to share on this album. This has always been one of my favorite songs, and if it wasn’t before, it is now.”
Rogers and Winfield’s Locket are joined on the song by such extraordinary musicians as the incomparable Jerry Douglas of Alison Krauss + Union Station on dobro (Ray Charles, James Taylor, Brooks & Dunn), renowned picker Bryan Sutton on acoustic guitar and mandolin (Dolly Parton, Bela Fleck, Ricky Skaggs), and acclaimed bassist Viktor Krauss on acoustic bass (Alison Krauss, John Fogerty, Michael McDonald). The Whites and Point of Grace also make guest appearances on Rogers’ album, which has been re-released in Europe as Faith by Wrasse Records and in the U.S. as Amazing Grace by Gaither Music Group. The album continues to receive critical acclaim around the world.
“It was a great honor to be a part of such an outstanding album,” Brooke Martin said of recording ‘In The Sweet By And By’ for The Love Of God. “We had so much fun singing harmonies for one of country music’s biggest legends. It was almost surreal. It was a very exciting time in our lives, and it's something we'll never forget!”
“It was an honor to sing with Kenny,” Leslie Martin added. “He is one of my favorite singers, and I highly respect how versatile he is both vocally and musically. My grandma, Dorothy, and her sister, Billie, loved harmonizing to ‘In The Sweet By And By,’ so when we were asked to be featured on this track, I was ecstatic. I really enjoyed being part of the record!”
Winfield's Locket also appeared on Kenny Roger's Christmas album, Once Again It's Christmas, as guest artists on "There's A New Kid In Town".
And the honors keep coming. Winfield’s Locket was highlighted in AirPlay Direct’s “Women In Music” issue of The Direct Buzz as a rising act to watch for.
Winfield’s Locket was invited by the Country Music Association to kick off the CMA Music Festival in Nashville – celebrating the festival’s 40th birthday – with an a capella performance of the national anthem in front of thousands of Country Music fans just prior to Gary Allan’s festival-opening performance. One review posted on the CMA Music Festival Official Blog noted “the strong vocals and perfect harmony of the sisters prepared the crowd for [Gary] Allan’s performance.” Winfield’s Locket also made its full-band performance debut at CMA Music Fest with a high-energy set on the Bud Light Stage that had new fans from Chicago to Australia raving.
Also, Winfield’s Locket was among a very select group of artists to participate in the highly regarded All About Music TV & Film Retreat in Nashville. Top music supervisors from New York and Los Angeles, as well as advertising firm representatives from San Francisco and Chicago, on the hunt for great music to place in their current movie and television projects, attended private showcases by Winfield’s Locket and others.
Winfield’s Locket performed with its brilliant live band, featuring some of Nashville’s top young musicians, on a Grammy-heavy bill at the Copper Country Music Festival in Copper Mountain, CO. The festival included live sets from the North Mississippi Allstars, Jimmie Vaughan, Tim O’ Brien, Ricky Skaggs, Taj Mahal Trio, The Long Players and others. Winfield's Locket wowed the Copper audience with a lively 10-song set, including nine originals and a smoking cover of Jonny Lang's "Give Me Up Again," that earned them an enthusiastic standing ovation to commemorate their first live performance in Colorado. The Long Players also invited Winfield's Locket to perform guest vocals on the Rolling Stones classic, "Wild Horses," during The Long Players' performance of the Stones' landmark Sticky Fingers album during the second day of the festival, making for a memorable moment.
Winfield’s Locket is back in the studio recording new music for a yet-to-be-titled forthcoming album. The first two songs finished for the project were recently recorded at Benchmark Studios in Nashville (reuniting the production team responsible for the duo's debut CD - Ilya Toshinskiy, Winfield's Locket and Jason Henke) and mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Kevin Killen (U2, Peter Gabriel, Prince, Marc Cohn, Sugarland) at the famed Avatar Studios in New York City.
Country, Pop, Religious