The Pilgrim

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With his first album release in three years, Marty has reached a milestone. His dream of a concept album based on a true story has been realized and a true masterpiece it is. With help from a few of his friends, Marty has put together an incredible journey through music. This is how I see the ride.

The album chronicles the saga of a love triangle/suicide. It plays like a musical on the theatre stage. The characters are cross-eyed Norman, his wife Rita, and her lover -- who is known simply as "the pilgrim." The short "Intro" is the orchestra warming up before the curtain rises. Once the curtain goes up, the upbeat tempo of "Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain" sums up the forthcoming story. "And though loves burns and burns. I never seem to learn. I'll walk right back into the flame." The story unfolds with "The Pilgrim (Act 1)." "I am a lonesome Pilgrim, far from home. And what a journey I have known. I might and tired and weary, but I am strong. Pilgrims walk, but not alone."

The plot thickens with "Harlan County." The vignette tells the story of Cross-eyed Norman coming home and finding his wife gone. He writes Rita a letter, grabs his gun and goes searching for her. He finds her in the arms of another. He tells Norman that he never knew Rita was married. "I swear to you she never wore a ring upon her hand." Norman walks over to Rita and hands her a letter that he has written. "Then before their eyes, he took his life and here is what he wrote."

The tender ballad, "Reasons" is the letter. "Reasons, I keep looking for reasons. I thought that I had loved you. I did the best I could. Reasons, I keep looking for reasons. I lost the reason for me living, and that just ain't no good."

The vignette, "Love Can Go To.........," is the lover's farewell to Rita and the small-town scandal. The Pilgrim's journey has begun. "Red, Red Wine and Cheatin' Songs" shows the Pilgrim wallowing in the sorrow of leaving the woman he loves. "Cigarette smoke, powder and paint, can't make up for what is and what ain't. When the truth starts to rumble and it starts to roar, then I ask the barmaid to pour me some more."

"At a red-hot 'Truckstop' with a dirt floor parking lot, a waitress named Shirley poured him some coffee and she said 'Hello stranger where ya going. I seen the dust of where you've been. Seems like the fire of trouble claims you like next of kin."

"Hobo's Prayer" is the national anthem of all Pilgrims. A solemn tune, sung in the Pilgrim's own words shares the transient world of short-term acquaintances. "Everything out here ain't what it seems. When you're down to nothing, just go ahead and dream. Face the fact that you're a circle in a world full of squares. Trading sorrows for tomorrows... that's the Hobo' s Prayer."

The world is streaking by through the open doors of the boxcars in "Goin' Nowhere Fast." It is in this song, we realize that the Pilgrim has given up and plans to end his own life. "I'll fade and disappear into a sea of sinkin' sand."

We enjoy an aerial view of life as it unfolds through "The Observations of a Crow." Backed by a bluesy melody, this "scoopologist" describes what he sees going on beneath him. "Take a look at that Pilgrim, passing by. He's looking for love. I can see it in his eye. He's running around in circles, you can take it from me. His shadow begs for mercy at every lost and found, in city after city, town after town. Tortured of a memory of a love he thought was supposed to be."

After a short "Intermission," we find the Pilgrim reminiscing over his love for Rita in "The Greatest Love of All Time." "Miles and miles of memories flow through me like new scarlet wine. And it's sad, but it's true that girl me and you had the greatest love of all time." The music continues to play as the Pilgrim ponders over his life and the woman he still dearly loves.

In "Draggin' Around These Chains of Love," the Pilgrim is scared, lost, tired of running and missing Rita, he's lonesome, hurt, and all he has is his hope.

"The Pilgrim (Act 2)." In the spoken "Redemption," the Pilgrim asks for salvation at the grave of his mama. He sees the light "like a beacon of forgiveness saying 'Pilgrim all is fine.' There's one more journey left for me. That's all that's left to do."

"The Pilgrim (Act 3)." Cupped in the Lord's hands, the Pilgrim begins his journey home. He has, at last, found peace within. "At the dawn of telling fortune's told. Take my mind, my body, my heart and soul. Wisdom falters not. It's more than gold. Giving me sweet rest and peace. I am a lonesome Pilgrim far from home. And what a journey I have known. I might be tired and weary but I am strong. 'Cause Pilgrims walk but not alone."

"Outro" finds the Pilgrim happily on the road home. A powerful recitation of a verse from the poem "Sir Galahad" and the repeat of final verse of "The Pilgrim" as only the great Johnny Cash could speak the words, the journey of the Pilgrim ends.

The curtain comes down and the audience leaves as "Mr. John Henry, Steel Driving Man" plays.

Written by Sherry Mattioli

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