REVIEW: Marina Rocks “Texcentric”


Marina Rocks – Texcentric

As to be expected this young singer-songwriter mines a vein of country-blues-roots music that others don’t seem to excavate. The lead-off track of this short 6-song EP “Dummin’ Down,” with its crunchy bluesy guitar runs & deep bellowing bass lines is masterful.

Marina Rocks

Marina Rocks is the Pepsi to Lucinda Williams’ Coke. The guitar work throughout is engaging, & tight & the tune “Willie Hole,” is driving with exceptional musicianship & biting bass lines that are like the loud after blast of fireworks. Absolutely riveting with acoustic guitars. The woman knows how to cook with fire. And she turns her grandstanding style into a deliciously tasty gumbo. A nice silky guitar style with gutsiness in the vocals.

Marina (vocals/guitars/keyboards/producer & arranger) knows what lyrics are pertinent to the tune & emphasizes them with skill. She doesn’t have that Janis Joplin bluesy growl, she doesn’t have that blues range of Karen Lawrence, but she has so much passionate warmth with an occasional sting where you’d least expect it, a caress where it’s needed, a well-triggered blast of raunch & an organic balance.

The EP recorded in Houston is a double-fisted effort — Texcentric (Drops July 14–Independent). Even the more pensive (“Blue Skies”) is equally compelling. The guitar work — consistently splendid. “Nameless,” is quite dynamic. This has a throbbing plodding predatory musical aesthetic like some of those old 60s instrumentals especially Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” reimagined brilliantly. This works so well, a real ear tugger.

The bass line is fat & distinctive with the whole instrumental performance like a well-made quilt. Intertwining notes, fast runs, clean playing, aggressive & melodic – this is a pro with a full thrust band. The average bar bands need to stand back, watch & listen. Don’t get discouraged & leave. Learn something. This is a finely tuned unit turning an old recipe into a fresh meal.

When artists cover famous songs they often don’t impress. But Marina reinvents the classic Townes Van Zandt song “If I Needed You.” It’s skillful guitars, performed with finesse & class. A tint of Patti Smith vocal gold. I’m certain Townes would just sit with a wide grin of approval to this arrangement. Beautifully done.

If an artist sends chills down my spine they must be good. I wear a sweater when I listen to Marina Rocks.

Highlights – “Dummin’ Down,” “Willie Hole,” “Walking On Water,” “Nameless,” “If I Needed You” & “Blue Skies.”

Musicians – Lloyd Maines (dobro), Alex Rodriguez & Aden Bubeck (bass guitars) & Pat Menske (drums).

CD photo by Biker Bob Carreiro. Red jacket image by Dee Hill. The 27-minute CD @

Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Marina Rocks “Austin To Houston”

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