Martin Jack and Werewolf Sequence | Ice Thorn: Singles (Collection)

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Ice Thorn: Singles (Collection)

by Martin Jack and Werewolf Sequence

Original Rock and Roll From The Unsanctioned Future With Past Obligations Sanctioned
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Howlin' Wolf Drives Past
9:59 $0.99
2. Walking Through
3:07 $0.99
3. Choked-Up
3:25 $0.99
4. Welded
3:47 $0.99
5. The Letter
6:24 $0.99
6. What You Want
3:35 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Maybe the album is an obsolescent art form, soon to be as rare as a newly-composed epic poem. Maybe Martin Jack Rosenblum realized this when he recorded his latest collection of songs and titled it Ice Thorn: Singles (Collection). Or maybe not. Perhaps Rosenblum is an unconscious, postmodern Homer who unknowingly disguised his Odyssey as a set of discrete journeys, his ego unaware of what his id had arranged.

The songs on Ice Thorn were intended to stand alone without the mutual references and running themes found on most of Rosenblum’s recordings. That they actually do refer to each other and carry on a set of themes long established in Rosenblum’s body of work is an irony for its creator and a delicious surprise for listeners. Although several of Ice Thorn’s songs clock in at the length of a classic pop single, the medium of AM radio, or of MP3 downloads, is not Rosenblum’s natural field of endeavor. His influences are broad and draw from many media, many epochs, yet as a recording artist he is most comfortable working within the timeframe of a long-playing album.

Unlike most recording acts of recent years, Rosenblum is able to fill the frame with evocative sketches from life. He can’t help himself. Rosenblum is always alluding to stories that can’t be told in four minutes or less. He is an artist with an epic imagination cursed to live in a world of shrinking expectations.

Ice Thorn reveals unsuspected levels of Rosenblum’s artistry. Opening the album, “Howlin’ Wolf Drives Past” suggests an unlikely encounter between the Band on a psychedelic trip and Derek and the Dominoes. The majestic sweep of divergent dynamics, from dream state to hard rock, establishes the mood for the lyrics and the tone for the entire album. Here, Howlin’ Wolf is as spooky as his name, a symbol for the mysterious essence of the blues and a reproach to the banality of contemporary music. Wolf also reproaches the song’s narrator for sins of omission, for not swimming hard enough against the tide of cultural indifference.

The Band is a reference through much of Ice Thorn; “Walking Through” suggests a missing track from The Basement Tapes—or a rock band anachronistically gathered around the piano in an Old West saloon. The good-time Americana obscures without eclipsing the dangerous crossroads where the narrator, resembling the man we met in “Howlin’ Wolf Drives Past,” confronts the conflicting pull of art and domesticity.

Echoing Rosenblum’s previous CD, Omen Dirt (Low-5), “Choked Up” is a raw field recording from the heart of darkness. Rosenblum’s harshly-plucked guitar grates against the booming, off-sync percussion of what sounds like a Salvation Army band stranded on a bleak corner in a bad part of town. Although written after Omen Dirt, it conveys the same angry desperation. With its reference to a public hanging, “Welded” can be read in light of Omen Dirt’s central song, “Standing on the Gallows.” A disturbing stare at a world where the signposts are misspelled and the lights are going out, “Welded” is reminiscent of Captain Beefheart’s Safe as Milk, a forceful reinvention of Mississippi Delta rhythms with shades of psychedelia.

“The Letter” continues to push the blues to the edge of the abyss, conjuring the hellhounds of Robert Johnson amid bursts of feedback and sawing violin. The words bristle with anger and disappointment at a muse who has succumbed to darkness. “What You Want” recapitulates the mood of the album’s opener. Its narrator criticizes himself for spinning his wheels in a deepening rut of inaction; its music has the nobility of the Band in an elegant moment from Blonde on Blonde.

Along with the songs themselves and the performances of Rosenblum’s band, Werewolf Sequence, the contribution of producer Mike Hoffmann was crucial in shaping Ice Thorn. Positioning microphones in unconventional settings, Hoffmann played the walls and ceiling of his studio as if they were instruments. Ice Thorn has a resonance lacking in most contemporary CDs, which sound as if they materialized inside a digital purgatory, a limbo lacking depth.

Far from being the collection of singles threatened by its subtitle, Ice Thorn: Singles (Collection) plays like a great lost album from circa 1970. The music balances roughness and grace and harmonizes the performances of individuals in a tight but spontaneous ensemble; the lyrics trace a web of allusions to regret over a world gone awry and potential unfulfilled.

—David Luhrssen
David Luhrssen is Arts & Entertainment Editor of the Shepherd Express, Milwaukee’s weekly newspaper, and coauthor of A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890.


Ice Thorn:
Singles (Collection)
1. Howlin’ Wolf Drives Past
2. Walking Through
3. Choked-Up
4. Welded
5. The Letter
6. What You Want
1. Martin Jack Rosenblum: guitar, vocal; James Redding, drums; Karl Lerud, bass; Allen Russell, violin; Kiran Vedula, organ. Backup vocal: Dusters.
2. Martin Jack, guitar, vocal, harmonica; James, drums; Karl, bass; Allen, violin; Kiran, piano. Backup vocal: Hunters.
3. Martin Jack, guitar, vocal; James, Karl, Allen, Kiran: Steel Rope Vintage Bottle Rockets.
4. Martin Jack, guitar, vocal; James, drums; Karl, bass; Kiran, organ. Backup vocal: Stoners.
5. Martin Jack, guitar, vocal; James, guitar, piano; Karl, bass; Allen, violin.
6. Martin Jack, guitar, vocal; James, piano; Karl, bass; Allen, violin; Kiran, drums.
Produced By Michael Hoffmann.
Mastered By Trevor Sadler.
Words And Music Copyright 2007 By Martin Jack Rosenblum.


Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum is an Artist Endorsee for Gibson Guitars, Montana, and has performed under twenty-five albums and over twenty-six books; he is a lecturer in music history and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Historian Emeritus for the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, and on Flying Fish/Rounder Records.



to write a review


Vintage bottle rockets never travelled this far!
Martin Jack and Werewolf Sequence spike the water and all drinking from the well of ‘Ice Thorne’ are in for a wild ride. My good people if you want canned sound accompanied by Idol bound pop princesses you are shit out of luck. This CD is a hungry predator, and the meal is its listeners no matter what realm they hearken from. Just look at who has chimed in right here on CD Baby. Without shame the wanderer throws herself in a front row spectator’s seat. Bending the rules of tired sentence structure this “spider on the lawn” weaves her journey of discovery within the lyrical narrative in ways that make my “eyes start to spin”. I can’t help myself from taking a seat beside her. We move to a lass I believe may have been a little intimidated by the wanderer’s spell, but so gripped by the power of this album she had to ‘throw her boots on’ and pen a review. An academic follows giving a wonderful tutorial blending Martin Jack’s poetry “The Werewolf Sequence” and his music “taking poetry to far”. She also, I think, draws an educated line in the sand challenging the artistic wanderer to cross it. Both a mediator and instigator tosses his hat in the mix. Taunting and deliciously irreverent he not only calls to the “hunters, and stoners”, but subtlety eggs the battle between art and academia on. “Ice Thorn” has the power to bring odd bedfellows together it grabs your throat and worlds collide to spin in an orbit only Martin Jack’s visions can provide.

Kelly, still wandering

“(when we are excited) we have stories to tell—and there is death.” (Rosenblum)
ICE THORN lays to rest what OMEN DIRT hung by the throat till dead. Beguiling knell of funereal organ beckons all to kneel in pews, a guitar falls its stare on those gathered close. Choired voices rise; an etheric alleluia for a hanged man leading song’s soulful prayer of answered calls, “an ice thorn on a vine…fattened frogs in wind…our lost rose, sax, and wine.” Reverent pallbearers bring musical affirmations to life as pulpit’s poet pilfers blame “for all we sing in snow” when “Howlin’ Wolf Drives Past.” Leaving collection plates empty we descend on our guide’s home pulling dark shrouds off mirrors to watch ourselves revel in dance. “When the stairs begin to shake…Walking Through” swings us about the house, boot stompin’ Appalachia style. Raiding the fridge we steal a jug of psilocybin silk moonshine and stumble to the yard. “This is serious as your knife”, a disgruntled guitar, “that cuts through prone fog” follows. Werewolves’ rhythm grazes ears like drunken spoons on kitchen pans. “Choked-Up” matches mood to scant inspirational donations from the gathered. Suddenly notes shift shape; we “all turned around to see what went down.” Evoking decades’ old, slick oil gel projections, WEREWOLF SEQUENCE sparks “Welded.” Gears groove, “the garden is mistaken…stoners by demand…nobody knew what was coming, it was a tomb built on sand.” Slow running, “The Letter” delivers rich mournful guitar and drifting keys echoing past us “spiders on the lawn.” More than disappointment with “jewels, jazz, and junk” falls from soul’s bleeding lips. Even at distance we know touched strings with equal voice and sinking heart can’t tell him where he is “since you’ve been gone.” Melody’s sweet edged sorrow, “What You Want” tears hot our eyes. Our “rope made of steel” strung up a man and hanged the beast inside. The kindred chord streams, howling moons do change, “it’s all very confusing, but not all very strange.”— (“and ten thousand years ago a werewolf tracked blood in your dreams.” The Werewolf Sequence, Martin Jack Rosenblum)


Martin Jack's, howling back !!
Howling Wolf walks through, chokes you up, wells you, writes you off, and gives you what you want. Throw your boots on, this is a path worth taking.

H.Filmore and the Steel Bucket Ballroom Dancers

Choke on this till you scream with pleasure!
There’s only one thing more entertaining than reading a Martin Jack review on CD Baby, and that’s giving any of his albums a real loud spin. Ice Thorn {singles collection} does not disappoint. I will not try and compete with the stories that twist you in knots, trick hits, or heady background information that I find so unique to a Martin Jack review. I want to speak to the ‘Hunters’ and ‘Stoners’ (you know who you are) stop pretending, put down what your gripping (makes you blind they say) and sink your teeth into this CD, while you’re at it give them all a lick. The taste will linger on your tongue and sail through your veins becoming an addiction to rival all others.


Martin Jack has got himself a new band: Werewolf Sequence. The name is from “The Werewolf Sequence”, Rosenblum’s book of visions into the carnal understandings shared by man, beast, and the beast that is in man (and vice versa)- in which these entities communicate with though-shapes, in and through free verse poetry and prose.
Really, it’s not all that different from listening to “Ice Thorn”, if you honestly try to track his lyrical path over the sonic apparitions that bend words without speech, and affect the meaning as led by the text. This is new territory for Rosenblum. Previously, he has been heard to produce music ranging from tightly arranged, hard-nosed Americana Blues/Rock from the heart of the Biker culture, to twisted trips towards the fringes of emotional consciousness, (where the rules of reality still apply, but are turned in upon themselves and the emotional consciousness that realizes them), to the mechanical arm of a pseudo pop sound that, when counterbalanced with American roots music, lends itself to a disturbingly sardonic and insightful view of everything above (and beyond). But they know it! They know all about it- Rosenblum and his band appear to be in the process of recycling all of the forms previously impregnated with Martin Jack’s orbital narrative with a youthful sense of conscious delicacy and restraint. This album deserves to be heard- it is the fittest of its kind yet released. Cheers.


Future Passing Along
"Ice Thorn" ---- Truthfully, I find it Martin Jack Rosenblum's most engaging work. “Howlin’ Wolf Drives Past” is menacing, a great choice to open the CD. Really sets this work up well, and gets the ear ready for what's to come. On its own, it has that quality of what Greil Marcus calls "the old, weird America" (actually the whole CD does). But it's that menacing quality I keep going back to. It's fun, but a bit scary.
"Walking Through" is good gut-bucket, barrelhouse blues. It has that greasy, smokehouse flavor.
I think the "Letter" is my favorite track - can't say why exactly, maybe it's just the groove. I keep coming back to it.
As for the overall sound: it definitely has the quality of a Lomax field recording - off the cuff, in the field, the instruments and instrumentation are well chosen and well performed. Yet it also has the quality of something like free jazz, an improvised quality, of the moment. These songs sound like they could only be played once, once - yet at the same time sound old as old blues gets. But this is blues only in the sense that there is an 'old, weird' authentic voice. This is new Rock and Roll: "Ice Thorn: Singles (Collection)" is the future passing along. Werewolf Sequence is the best band yet for Martin Jack's songs.