photo - Michael G. Stewart
Andy Martin -
Arkansas Traveler * Let Me Fall *
|This CD should be of tremendous interest to those
who enjoy authentic Bluegrass Music. But don't be misled. It's not a mere
imitation of classic styles. Fiddlin' Andy Martin is, at the core, spontaneous
and intensely creative! The arrangements are his own and come with a variety
of new licks. The complex rhythms and thick double (and even triple) stops
are distinctly developed. Right from the opening number (a bewildering version
of Arkansas Traveler), the listener is treated to a distinctly individual
Andy Martin was in his teens when he first picked up an instrument, his great grandfather's fiddle. He had no formal training and little contact with other musicians, yet his natural talent soon gained him semi-professional work, including a job fiddling at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he worked with the innovative Victor Wooten and other hot young musicians.
While most of his friends were aspiring toward careers in Nashville, Andy longed for the sounds of traditional bluegrass music. A trip to Ralph Stanley's Old Homeplace Festival led to a meeting and lessons with Joe Meadows, a world-class veteran of the bluegrass fiddle. Under Joe's tutelage, Andy grew as a musician and soon joined a band that featured Dean Stoneman of the famous Stoneman Family. Through Dean, Andy met and jammed with other Stonamens, absorbing what he could of their unique and exciting musicianship. But even more inspirational was the friendship he developed with singer/mandolinist Buzz Busby, a true legend of bluegrass music. Busby and Scotty Stoneman, one of the all-time great fiddle players, created a haunting musical style of dizzying complexity. This style, along with the brilliant, yet authentic technique of Joe meadows formed an ideal for Andy's musical expressions.
Andy's life has taken many paths, including the development of a vineyard, international competition in boxing and marshal arts and even study of the performing arts at the venerable Actors' Studio in New York. Along the way, he has been blessed to perform with many fine artists and bands with a variety of styles. To name a few: The Patuxent Partners, Wyatt Rice, Lynwood Lunsford and the Misty Mountain Boys, Junior Sisk, Pete Corum, The Weems Creek Ramblers, The Carolina Roustabouts, Nick Novia, Harry and Jeanie West, Jeremy Stephens, Arlie Duff, Warner Williams, Frank Wakefield, Dean Stoneman, Roni Stoneman, Buzz Busby and many more, including a Broadway bound production of Si Kahn's musical, Some Sweet Day.
On This Recording, with his appropriate drive and full-throated tone, the accompanying musicians complement Andy well, each with his own 'traditional/creative' stamp. Of special note is Mark Delaney's innovative banjo work, Tom Mindte's Buzz Busby inspired mandolin and vocals and Brian Deere, with his powerhouse vocal that seems right out of the 1950s. Merl Johnson adds some Larry Sparks inspired guitar on Carter's Blues and fine rhythm throughout. On bass, Kristin McAvinue provides a versatility which is sensitive to the needs of each song, yet firm in its delivery. Andy himself sings lead on the tearful Long Black Limousine.
Andy gives special credit to fiddlers Patrick McAvinue and Nate Leath for their parts in the freewheeling version of Dixie.