John Arthur Martinez

John Arthur Martinez
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Where there's a will, there's a way. John Arthur martinez has slept on dozens of floors and couches, sung in hundreds of bars, successfully marketed two CDs of his songs, won regional radio airplay and worked his way up from debt to profitability during his climb to prominence on the competitive Texas music scene. With the release of his debut album for Dualtone, martinez makes his first bid for a national audience The process began in 2003 when millions of country-music fans were first exposed to his music. john Arthur martinez finished second on the USA Network's national talent competition Nashville Star .“A Home Made of Stone,” his first Dualtone single, is one of the original compositions he introduced on the television series. He was born in Austin , Texas , and raised in the Texas hill country, an area with a rich musical heritage. His father's side of the family was particularly influential, he recalls.” My dad and his sister, my aunt, and a couple of my uncles would get together and harmonize to the old ballads,” martinez reports. “They loved the Mariachi ballads. So they were definitely a musical influence. And growing up in the Austin area, there are a lot of famous influences, like Willie Nelson. When you live in a community that has [Country Music Hall of Fame singer-songwriter] Floyd Tillman living in it and Willie just 25 miles away, it affects you. Over in Bandera, you had Charlie and Bruce Robison. Robert Earl Keen was around. It's just a very songwriter-rich area, the Texas Hill Country.” His parents divorced when he was four, but he saw his father often enough to note first-hand how difficult it is to make a living with music. Adam Martinez performed as a drummer for 30 years before giving it up to work for the Lower Colorado River Authority. john Arthur martinez was raised by his stepfather John Gutierrez and mother Hortincia. Neither one was musical, but an uncle noted the boy's love of poetry writing and gave him money to buy a guitar. It wasn't long before the poems became lyrics. English was spoken at home and at school, but the youngster also spent a lot of time at his Spanish-speaking grandparents ' ranch, so he became bilingual. john Arthur martinez demonstrated a deep love of language while still in grade school. He became a published poet at age 9. But music was an equally powerful draw. He snuck into the Armadillo World Headquarters nightclub while still underage to see Asleep at the Wheel and Commander Cody. He was smitten by their western-swing sounds and soon developed a liking for the legendary Bob Wills and for San Marcos rancher George Strait . martinez attended college on a tennis scholarship. He graduated with an English degree from Southwest Texas State University . ”I wanted to be a creative writing teacher at the college level and to coach a college tennis team to a national championship. That was my goal at the time.” But his interest in music intensified during his college years. By the time he graduated, he was performing in nearby clubs every week. ”I probably learned every George Strait song there was. I'd sing them at my gigs alongside my James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg songs, plus acoustic guitar Beatles ' tunes. And all the while I was learning my Mom 's favorites, like Hank Williams. I was playing a lot, but I never really thought that 's what my career was going to be.” “I decided to go to graduate school and get a Masters in Journalism at the University of Arizona . It was in Tucson , a town where I knew no one. That's one of the reasons I went there. I thought I needed to live a little bit before I could go for a Masters in Creative Writing. While I was in Tucson , I discovered I was a songwriter and started playing in the coffee houses around the university. I realized that this is really what I loved to do, what I really wanted to do.” As his songs gained in quality, he also realized that his heart wasn't in the journalism degree. Martinez dropped out of grad school, returned to the Austin area and began working at music full time. It wasn't an easy life. “I lived in a lot of places. Between the time I graduated and the time I married, I slept anywhere I could. I don't think I can even come close to naming all the places I stayed for three or more days. Sometimes you live with a girlfriend --I had a couple of relationships that were destructive to both parties. I guess it was good for the music, good for the songwriting.” In 1987 he made his first pilgrimage to Nashville . The city's community of songwriters encouraged and embraced him, bolstering his self-confidence immensely. But back home, the low-paying club jobs barely kept him fed. He enrolled in an Ohio school to learn recording techniques. He booked time in studios. He was trying to pay off his college loans. His debts were mounting. To get control of his finances, martinez began teaching English and coaching tennis at Marble Falls High School . “I used my music in the classroom. I used songs to teach alliteration, assonance, rhyme and rhythm. And at night, I was always gigging. It was wearing me out, but I couldn't give up the music.” The trips to Nashville continued. He met songwriting greats like Alex Harvey, John Prine and Harlan Howard, which further inspired him. In 1998, john Arthur martinez recorded 10 of his songs on a CD titled Spinning Our Wheels .It was a simple, homemade effort, but several notables pitched in. Gene Elders, the fiddler for George Strait and Lyle Lovett, loaned his skills to the project. So did Loggins & Messina's veteran percussionist Merel Brigante and ex Asleep at the Wheel pianist Floyd Domino.martinez sold the CD to the folks who came to his increasingly popular shows. By this time, there was someone special in his audience. On Feb.20, 1999, that special someone became his wife, Yvonna. Overnight, the itinerant musician became the stepfather of three girls and a boy. Family life, he says, has actually strengthened his musical resolve. Yvonna encouraged him to teach part-time at a private school so that he could spend more time writing and singing. She is also an herbalist who has healed a singing voice once ravaged by too many nights in too many smoky clubs. martinez recorded Stand Your Ground as his second CD in 2001. More polished than his earlier effort, it won him radio airplay in a number of major markets in his home state, including Dallas and Austin. His momentum was building, but he put everything on hold to compete on Nashville Star. He seemed to gain musical strength with each week's appearance on the program. After the show ended, he began to sing in Nashville nightspots from time to time. It all came together at a performance in a Music City coffee shop on August 27, 2003 .Executives from both Dualtone and The William Morris Agency were in the audience.” Most of the show was just me and my guitar. I felt a really strong spiritual covering that night. It was just amazing. It wound up being probably one of the top performances I've ever given.” Within hours, he was signed by both the agency and the label. Working with producer Matt Rollings and an all-star cast of Nashville musicians, the new Dualtone signee has crafted an album of depth and resonance. His original material rings with the truth and insight we find so often in the finest troubadours from the Lone Star State . martinez caresses the ballads with a tender touch, lets loose when he offers a swing tune and rides the mid-tempo tunes like a bona fide cowboy. A bilingual version of George Strait 's “Amarillo By Morning” is both a salute to a musical influence and a proud reminder of his ethnicity. “Home Made of Stone” recognizes that the family is still in a mobile home in Marble Falls , but like the album, itself, is a bright promise for the future. It's been quite a climb, but he has always faced his hardships with grace, humor and dignity. Whether in person or on disc, john Arthur martinez exudes the quiet confidence and charisma that made millions of TV viewers fall in love with him last year. When he smiles, the world has sunshine. When he talks, it's always from the heart. And when he sings, the soul is nourished.
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Average Rating : 4.8              Total Reviews: 6

John Arthur Martinez  10/03/2009            
This is easily one of my favorite CDs. These two are friends in real life and have collaborated on every sone on this CD. Their voices complement each other - jAm's being lower and warmer, Mike's being just a bit huskier and higher. Favorites on this CD are "You Don't Have to Go Home" - a great bluesy song that brought the house down in Marble Falls recently, "Sweet on You" - a rocking love song with a great beat, and "Midnight Blue" - a tender ballad. If you can't see jAm and Mike Blakely in a show together, get this CD!
John Arthur Martinez  10/03/2009            
This should be on everyone's list! jAm's new release is one you can listen to over and over. He has the tender love ballads, rocking country songs, the bit of bilingual Tex-Mex - everything we all love about him. Utopia is a definite toe-tapper and probably one of my favorites. I can safely quote back-up singer and longtime friend of jAm Mike Blakely when he says, "I listened to this over and over and can't find anything wrong with it".
John Arthur Martinez  12/31/2005            
John Arthur Martinez  10/25/2004            
Great CD. A little Texas Swing, a few ballads, a few bilingual love songs......what more could you want? Not a beer drinking Tex-Mex CD- more of an impress the gilfriend thing. I was worried when JA went with Dualtone- I have his indie releases, and didn't want anyone to mess with his unique style. This turned out fine. Just one question. When do we get the next CD?
John Arthur Martinez  10/06/2004            
John Arthur Martinez  07/07/2004            
GREAT!!! He didn't let Nashville producers ruin his Tex-Mex soul. I have followed him from the beginning and I am glad the rest of the "country" can share in his music now.
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