May 6th, 2017
Frank Martin is a quadruple threat. He sings. He plays guitars and mandolins. He writes songs. He is an octopus with fingers flyings in all directions.
Frank's four-way skill set empowers him to be one of the best musicians in the valley.
Right here, right now, in this Roaring Fork Valley, as consumers of great music, our cup runneth over. Frank Martin has just refilled it with a new recording called, “Blue on Blue on Blue.”
I've taken a few slugs from Frank Martin's spanking new album, It's Americana, gospel, blues, folk and rock, stories and soul. I'm still standing but the music is strong. I find it quite tasty and mildly intoxicating. When I mentioned to him that I found his sound firmly planted in Americana he seemed surprised.
The visuals that Frank plants in his music with lyric and melody add a deep dimension to the listening experience. He takes you places. Each of the nine tracks on the record fit together like layers of cake. What holds things together is Martin's plaintive singing and colorful lyrics.
“The wake peels off of the back of the ferry shot pure white like a waterfall
Shallow waves curl into the glimmer and disappear from view
Layers of mountains rim the sea receding into salt air and sky
We stand together in the wind and take it in
Blue on blue on blue”
Words like these served over a bed of urgent acoustic guitar strumming takes you to the moment on the water with sun slanting and shimmering. You can feel the wind and hear the lonely mystery of the distant mountains.
Lyrically, the tunes on the new album cover quite a bit of geographic territory from Alaska to Montana to Wyoming to Glenwood Springs and places in between, beyond and before.
And here comes Frank Martin's guitar and he's better than ever. He is a master of the volume knob making the Stratocaster weep and cry like a lap steel. His mandolin is crisp and the acoustic guitars are bright and snappy.
How does someone like Frank Martin know when he's in the zone?
“I know I'm in the zone as a guitar player when I'm watching my hands and I have no idea what they're doing. I'm like, 'Go Ahead!'”
“I'm almost hitting my prime. And I just totally feel that way about where I'm at as a player these days and as a singer,” he told me.
That's not bragging it's just the way it is.
Frank Martin comes from a musical family. His sisters played cello and piano. His mom played violin for the Colorado Springs symphony and his dad sang in a choir. The family musical inspiration and influence is steeped into in this new album.
This recording was locally hatched at Cool Brick Studios in Carbondale. Frank handed some creative control over to owner/chef Dave Taylor who produced, engineered and mixed the new recording.
Frank brought in some great local players to help him fill things up to the brim. The cast includes Aaron Taylor, William Brown, Vid Weatherwax, Ross Kribbs, Sophia Clark, Olivia Pevcc and Dale Loper. This project is a local collaboration and a labor of love.
Martin has some new material and a bag of country songs he wants to open in the near future.
I sat in Frank's kitchen and he played me a couple of tunes including a new one about dry land farming.
The chorus sticks in my head.
“Thunderstorms roll like dice
Over parcels and the range
Dry land farming
Waiting on the rain”
Frank Martin is not resting on his laurels. He has been entertaining and writing and performing in the valley since the early 1980s. He will be out this summer supporting his new album and performing with Dan Rosenthal on drums and Dan Whitney on bass. It's a quadruple threat in a three-piece band.
You can catch him at the Carbondale Mountain Fair and at various venues including the Glenwood Farmer's Market.
Find Frank Martin's music and schedule at frankmartinmusic.com.
To hear an interview and live music from Frank Martin go to steveskinner.podbean.com.
Reach Steve Skinner at firstname.lastname@example.org.