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Featured Martin Ambassadors

Thomas Rhett

From the outside looking in, the rise of Thomas Rhett as a country music star may seem like a rapid one, but, for the Valdosta, GA native himself, the 2013 release of his debut album, IT GOES LIKE THIS, was a long time coming.

“We held off for a very long time, longer than most new artists hold out for a record,” Rhett says of the two-year process. He and his record label, The Valory Music Co., were waiting for the right moment, and they found it in the form of the platinum-selling, smash-hit single, from which the album takes its name.

“It Goes Like This” spent three weeks on top of the Billboard Country Singles Chart in 2013, tying the record set by Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” three years earlier, for the most weeks spent at #1 for an artist’s first chart-topping single. The success of the anthemic country/rock smash was all the more special for Thomas Rhett, as it was written by his Dad – country artist and hit songwriter, Rhett Akins. Father and son got to celebrate together at a unique “double” #1 party last year, where the younger Akins was also recognized for writing Florida Georgia Line’s two-week #1 single, “Round Here.”

This 2014 CMA New Artist of the Year nominee’s talent as both a performer and a songwriter is fully evident on the diverse, yet cohesive, collection of songs that make up his chart-topping debut album. From his second #1 Hit Single “Get Me Some of That,” to the Top-15 singles “Beer With Jesus” and “Something To Do With My Hands,” and current single “Make Me Wanna”, the Georgia native showcases the breadth of musical influences that seamlessly work together to make up his unique sound. “The coolest thing about this record is it’s kind of like a timeline of my life from 2011 to 2013. There are almost three different versions of myself on the same record, so there’s a little bit for everybody,” Rhett says.

Citing Luke Bryan as an influence in his unpredictable musicality, Rhett is striving to reach that point where fans aren’t surprised by anything he does; whether it’s writing hits for other artists (like Jason Aldean’s “1994” or Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party”), or exploring the multiple sides of his personality in his own music. “I want my brand to be where people are not shocked when I do certain things. I want people to go ‘I knew Thomas Rhett would do that because he likes to extend and go past the boundaries,” he says.

Still reveling in a year that saw him top the charts, tour with Jason Aldean at sold-out stadiums across the country and make national television appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Queen Latifah Show and The View, Thomas Rhett says has no idea what the future holds for him. “I don’t have a clue where it’s going to go or where it’ll end up, but the journey is cool enough for me,” he muses. “I’m here for the ride and to entertain people.”

For right now that journey includes a recent run of sold out headlining shows (at stops including New York, Boston, Charlotte, Knoxville, Chicago and more), touring with Brantley Gilbert on his LET IT RIDE TOUR, and hitting the road with Miranda Lambert and Justin Moore for the PLATINUM TOUR. For tour dates and to learn more, visit thomasrhett.com.


Thomas Rhett's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: HD-16R Adirondack

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Martin Ambassadors

Aaron Nigel Smith

Aaron Nigel Smith's “Call To Action” is to get kids moving. In 2002 he founded FUNdamentals of Music and Movement, an arts program which is now the program of choice to over 100 early education centers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, NewYork, and Boston. His fun, inspired, and lively show is guaranteed to get the audience off their feet.

Aaron Nigel Smith's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-15M

Aaron Nigel Smith's preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Light Gauge (MSP 7100)

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Adam Gardner of Guster

Since 1991, Adam Gardner, along with his band Guster, have been making a stir with their albums and a smash with their live shows. Ever since their humble beginnings at Tufts University, Guster have always sought to outdo themselves. They sell out New York's fabled Radio City Music Hall one year and perform with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall the next. They sell out a 33-date college tour, and this past spring founded the eco-friendly Campus Consciousness Tour, with buses powered by biodiesel and performances powered by wind power. It's in this overachieving band's nature to one-up itself.

Adam Gardner of Guster's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: GPCPA2 Mahogany

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Amanda Shires

Just in case the title alone wasn’t a dead give away, Amanda Shires’ Down Fell the Doves is not a record for the faint of heart, faith or spirit. Not that anyone who heard her last album would have expected such. Carrying Lighting, the critically acclaimed 2011 breakthrough that put Shires on the map as one of Americana music’s most arresting new voices (and Texas Music magazine’s 2011 Artist of the Year), was a kudzu-tangled web of frayed heartstrings and combustible desire that revealed the one-time “little fiddle player from Lubbock” to be a grown woman unafraid to “get wrecked in love” and dish out the same with keen poetic insight and unnervingly mature, femme-fatale conviction. But as striking as Lightning was, Down Fell the Doves (Shires’ debut for Lightning Rod Records) is where the gloves really come off.

Amanda Shires' preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 1T IZ Tenor Uke

Amanda Shires' preferred Martin strings: Ukulele Clear Fluorocarbon Tenor (M 620)

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Augustines

Emotionally charged, stadium-ready indie rock outfit Augustines was formed in 2009 by Billy McCarthy, Eric Sanderson, and Rob Allen after the dissolution of the similarly themed Pela. After Pela's breakup, McCarthy and Sanderson decided to pursue the batch of songs that were intended to appear on the ousted group's sophomore outing, and put them toward a new project. The resulting Rise Ye Sunken Ships, which tows the line between the spirited expansiveness of early U2, the lit-heavy heartache of the Hold Steady, and the introspective alt-rock of the National, arrived on August 28, 2011.

Augustines' preferred Martin acoustic guitars: 00-15M, D-18E Retro

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The Avett Brothers

There is no harmony like brotherly harmony. Something indelible in the weave of voices and play of sensibilities is stamped into the fraternal DNA and also stems from a lifetime of shared experiences. You can hear it in classic brother acts across the musical spectrum, from the Louvin Brothers to the Everly Brothers and on down the decades through the Wilson brothers (Beach Boys), the Davies brothers (Kinks), the Allman Brothers and even the Brothers Gibb (a.k.a., the Bee Gees). You can clearly hear fraternal magic at work in the songs of Scott and Seth Avett, better known as the Avett Brothers.

Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers' preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-35 Seth Avett

Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers' preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Light & Medium Gauge (MSP 7100 & MSP 7200)

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Band of Skulls

The trio of British musicians that is Band of Skulls make big, dark rock based around strong riffs and big rhythm. Playing together in one form or another since age 12, the band has the chops to back up their swagger. The band has received a feverish response in America, Australia, across Europe and elsewhere, playing festivals, tv and more, even appearing on the soundtrack for Twilight: New Moon.

Band of Skulls' preferred Martin acoustic guitars: D-28 Marquis Sunburst, CEO-6 Sunburst, Grand J-28LSE

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Ben Howard

Benjamin John "Ben" Howard (born 24 May 1987) is an English singer-songwriter. He self-released his debut EP Games in the Dark (2008) followed by two more EPs, These Waters (2009) and Old Pine (2010). He is currently signed to Island and Communion. His major debut studio album came in 2011 titled Every Kingdom followed by two more EP releases, Ben Howard Live (2011) and The Burgh Island E.P. (2012). He performed at 2013 Glastonbury festival on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday 29 June. He released his second studio album, I Forget Where We Were, in October 2014.

Ben Howard's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28 Lefty

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Benjamin Francis Leftwich

Benjamin Francis Leftwich picked up the guitar at age 10, and hasn't put it down since. He has been hailed as a "serious new talent" by the Sunday Times, and his album Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm has received great comparisons to Dylan, Springsteen, and Coldplay.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-15M

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Chris Carrabba of Twin Forks (and Dashboard Confessional)

"I use my gut, and my gut don't lie to me" is more than just a lyric in Twin Forks' exuberant "Something We Just Know," it is a kind of mission statement for the quartet. If you've ever been to a musical performance that made you lose all sense of time and place and give in to the cathartic feeling of clapping and dancing and singing along, you've already visited the sweet spot where Twin Forks have made it their mission to reside. "Whatever makes the audience stomp their feet and sing at the top of their lungs, that's what I want to be doing," says singer/guitarist Chris Carrabba. "I want to be generating that spirit from the stage. And there's gotta be a way to do that whether the audience knows the songs yet or not." Carrabba, mandolin player Suzie Zeldin, bassist Jonathan Clark and drummer Ben Homola are already well on their way, rousing crowds with their electrifying chemistry and anthemic folk-rock.

Chris Carrabba of Twin Forks and Dashboard Confessional's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 00-18V

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Chuck Ragan

Simply put, they don’t make musicians like Chuck Ragan anymore. For nearly two decades Ragan has traversed the country and the world—first with his celebrated punk act Hot Water Music and later as a solo troubadour—to bring his music to the masses.

Chuck Ragan's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 00-28VS

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City and Colour

The voice is unmistakable – immediately identifiable by those that know it and intensely intriguing to those that don't. It belongs to Dallas Green, perhaps better known as the man who writes, records, and performs under the moniker of City and Colour. Of his latest album, says Dallas "I'm just always aiming to become a better player and better songwriter, and this is the culmination of that at this point in time."

City and Colour's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: Dreadnought 12 fret from the Custom Shop

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Cody Simpson

Music has played an integral part in Cody’s life since he was a child. Watching his dad sing and play guitar for friends and family at parties and backyard barbecues taught him the power that music has to bring people together. Inspired, he asked for his own guitar and began taking lessons at the age of seven. After learning a few chords, Cody wrote his first song. He continued practicing and soon began posting YouTube videos of himself performing his original songs alongside stellar covers by some of his favorite artists like Justin Timberlake, Jason Mraz, and Jack Johnson, racking up millions of views.

Cody Simpson's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-35 Johnny Cash, OMJM John Mayer

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Colbie Caillat

Listening to All of You, the third and most intriguing release from Colbie Caillat, is like turning a page of a book you’ve savored for two chapters only to be surprised and delighted by what awaits in Chapter 3.
This is, first of all, definitely and unmistakably a Caillat gem. Those qualities that burst from the first notes of her 2007 debut Coco like bouquets of sonic joy, and flowered in 2009’s Breakthrough, emanate from every track on All of You. But now they bloom with a richness of emotion and insight that comes only when a gifted artist can channel lessons learned into her music.

Colbie Caillat preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28

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Craig Ross - Lead Guitarist for Lenny Kravitz

Craig Ross picked up the guitar at age 8, following a path that he hasn't deviated from since. That first guitar, borrowed from a neighbor's garage, was his foray into the world of the Beatles and Chuck Berry, his early influences. Before the age of 16, he started playing the L.A. clubs and eventually formed the band The Broken Homes in high school. They opened for the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan, INXS, and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others, while doing clubs gigs with bands such as Guns N' Roses and Jane's Addiction. The band made three records for MCA records in the 80's, working with producers such asAndy Johns of Zeppelin and Stones fame. This seminal period gave Craig his education in studio work.

A chance meeting in an LA pool hall with Lenny Kravitz (facilitated by Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go's) shaped the course of his career for the next 23 years. After touring Lenny's Mama Said album, Craig joined Lenny in the studio, co-writing and playing all the guitars on the track "Are You Gonna Go My Way", an anthem that helped elevate Lenny's career to new heights. The collaboration continued with stand-out solos on tracks such as "Believe" and "Is There Any love in Your Heart" helping make Lenny a top rock act. Craig has written and played on every subsequent Lenny album since as well as records by Sheryl Crow, Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, The Black Crowes, Nikka Costa and others.

Craig Ross's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28 Authentic 1937, HD-28E Retro, D12-28

Craig Ross's preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan

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Danny Davis

Danny Davis is a natural. Whether he’s strumming his guitar, banging on a bongo or riding his snowboard, he displays an almost effortless ability to find rhythm. His path in snowboarding—from the hills of Michigan to the world stage—has been highlighted by incredible competitive success balanced by a principled approach to keeping things cool.

Danny Davis' preferred Martin acoustic guitars: Dreadnought cutaway from the Custom Shop

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Danny Davis

Del McCoury

Vince Gill says it simply, and maybe best: “I'd rather hear Del McCoury sing ‘Are You Teasing Me' than just about anything.” For fifty years, Del's music has defined authenticity for hard core bluegrass fans-count Gill among them-as well as a growing number of fans among those only vaguely familiar with the genre. And while the box set Celebrating 50 Years of Del McCoury, like its distilled companion, By Request-both in stores on May 12th-provides an opportunity to look back on a unique legacy, it's also one that Del McCoury's rolling past with a wave and a grin and some of the best music he's ever made.

Del McCoury's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28

Del McCoury's preferred Martin strings: Martin SP 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP 4200)

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Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley is an American country music artist who has been signed to Capitol Records Nashville since 2003. That year, he released his self-titled debut album. Both it and its follow-up, 2005's Modern Day Drifter, are certified platinum in the United States. A third album, 2006's Long Trip Alone, is certified gold. It was followed in mid-2008 by a greatest hits package. His fourth album, Feel That Fire was released in February 2009. Bentley's studio albums have accounted for sixteen singles on the country singles charts, of which eight have reached No. 1: his debut single "What Was I Thinkin'", as well as "Come a Little Closer", "Settle for a Slowdown", "Every Mile a Memory", "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)", "Feel That Fire", "Sideways", and "Am I the Only One". Four more of his singles have reached Top Five on the country charts as well.

Dierks Bentley's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: HD Dierks Bentley

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Dirty Guvnahs

“Youth may be in their blood, but tradition guides their instincts”, reveals M! Music and Musician's Magazine. “The Dirty Guv'nahs are wise in the ways of rock n' roll beyond their tender years”. The swell of grassroots momentum for this 6-piece rock n' roll collective from Knoxville, TN is undeniable. “The Guvs” have been steadily growing their fan base across the country, selling out shows in theatres and bars alike, and making standout festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, and SXSW, to name a few. The band has also shared the stage with a diverse and notable list of major artists, including Wilco, Zac Brown Band, Levon Helm Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Train, Dr. Dog, and Chris Robinson.

Dirty Guvnahs' preferred Martin acoustic guitars: D-28, HD-16R Adirondack

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Donavon Frankenreiter

To create his fifth full-length album Start Livin', Hawaii-based singer/guitarist/songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter holed up in a Southern California studio for seven days with his longtime bassist Matt Grundy—and no one else. The follow-up to 2010's Glow, Start Livin' is a nine-track selection of folk-infused songs that sweetly reflect the simplicity of their recording. With its smooth showcasing of Frankenreiter's rich, honey-thick vocals and masterful guitar work, Start Livin' bears all the intimacy of an impromptu back-porch performance and the tenderness of a treasured love letter.

Donavon Frankenreiter's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: D-28 Authentic 1941, 000-18 Authentic 1937 (discontinued)
Comparable available model: 000-18 Golden Era

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Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is blessed – he seems to know exactly where he is going, and exactly how to get there. Where countless others fail to make an impression amid today's information overload, Ed's music and talent cut straight through.He has a poise that is as welcome as it is unusual in someone so young. He's both utterly self-assured but still charmingly open. He has a confidence that's built not on being able to sing someone else's song quite nicely on a teatime TV show, but on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of gigs where it's just him, his guitar, a loop pedal and a crowd.

Ed Sheeran's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: LX1E Ed Sheeran Signature Edition

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Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish indie rock band from Selkirk, formed in 2003. The lineup consists of lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and lyricist Scott Hutchison, guitarist and bassist Billy Kennedy, guitarist Andy Monaghan, drummer Grant Hutchison and guitarist and keyboardist Gordon Skene. They are a band who live in Glasgow and have done for some time. They record in bedrooms, cupboards and kitchens. Anyone can be in Frightened Rabbit. They have played some live shows in this city, but want to meet people from other cities, in order that they can come and blow into tubes when they play live. Lets keep pop music alive by getting it out of that dress and into a sweater.

Frightened Rabbit's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: HD-28, 000-15M

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Gabrielle Aplin

Gabrielle Aplin is the whipsmart teenage sensation with spirit in her voice and ability to bottle melodic lightning who, at 14, wrote her first song, Ghosts. At 17, she made it the title track of her first EP. At the same age, she set up her own label, Never Fade Records. Soon she had landed herself a booking agent and was plotting her own tours round the UK.

Gabrielle Alpin's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 000-15M

Gabrielle Alpin's preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 80/20 Bronze Light Gauge (MSP 6100)

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The Gaslight Anthem

On January 18, 2012, The Gaslight Anthem piled into their old tour van and headed across the New Jersey state line for a 14 hour road trip to Nashville on their own quest for the truth. Their destination was 2806 Azalea Place, Nashville, Blackbird Studio, where the New Brunswick quartet had booked five weeks recording time with producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, AC/DC). Their mission: to reconnect with rock ‘n' roll in its most feral, pure, stripped-raw form.

The Gaslight Anthem's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: 000-28EC, D-35 Johnny Cash, 00-DB Jeff Tweedy

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Hunter Hayes

Among the many extraordinary things about Hunter Hayes, the multi-talented musician, writer, producer and performer, perhaps what is most astonishing is that in truth, he's just getting started. And it is that fact which holds the promise of Hunter Hayes becoming one of the most significant musical talents to emerge, not just from Nashville, but from anywhere, in a long, long time

Hunter Hayes' preferred Martin acoustic guitars: OM-42, 00 12 fret from the Custom Shop

Hunter Hayes' preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Light Gauge (MSP 7100)

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Jack Mitrani

When you grow up riding the small, icy mountains of Vermont you learn two things. One is board control; the other is to have a sense of humor about snowboarding. Clearly, 23-year old Jack Mitrani picked up both.

Jack Mitrani's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: 000 Koa from the Custom Shop

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Jack Savoretti

With his husky voice, a head full of catchy tunes and a story to tell, Jack Savoretti would seem to have everything it takes. Yet the songs on 'Before the Storm' chart a turbulent relationship, and articulate the emotional dilemma of a young man torn between enjoying his freedom and settling down with the love of his life. There are fast songs and slow songs, sad ones and happy ones, songs about wild nights on the town and dark nights of the soul. What they share is the honesty of the lyrics and the catchiness of the tunes.

Jack Savoretti's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 000-28VS

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Jacques Stotzem

Jacques Stotzem's finger style work leaves audiences stunned. With just a single guitar, this Belgian musician performs the work of entire orchestras, jazz quartets, and rock groups. Armed with his trust Martin OMC-Jacques Stotzem, his performances are always guaranteed to amaze.

Jacques Stotzem preferred Martin acoustic guitar: OMC Jacques Stotzem (discontinued)
Comparable available model: OMCPA1 Plus

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Jake Bugg

Hailing from Nottingham in the UK, Jake Bugg has been channeling Dylan with an edge all his own. He's won over fans on Later with Jools Holland and the Conan O'Brien Show, and if the strength of his debut album is anything to go by, this 18-year old just getting warmed up.

Jake Bugg's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: HD-28VS, 000-15SM

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James Valentine of Maroon 5

Adam and Jesse and I started playing music together in junior high, under the sway of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and their ilk. We generally played in Jesse’s garage in Malibu or David Richman’s basement in Brentwood. A few players came and went, most notably Adam Salzman, Amy Wood, and Jesse Nicita, until finally we scored Ryan Dusick as our drummer in 1994 and the unfortunately-monikered Kara’s Flowers was born.

James Valentine of Maroon 5's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: D-28, GPCPA1 Plus

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Jason Isbell

After spending six years with Southern rock outfit Drive-By Truckers, singer/guitarist Jason Isbell left the group in 2007 to pursue a solo career. Isbell had already honed his songwriting skills during his tenure with the Truckers, and he funneled those talents into Sirens of the Ditch, a bluesy, punk-infused lesson in guitar tones and Southern swagger that marked his solo debut in summer 2007. Backed by a new band dubbed the 400 Unit, Isbell took his songs on the road and soon began penning another album, which he recorded with the 400 Unit in 2008. Released the following year, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit was another step away from his work with Drive-By Truckers, relying as much on sad, melancholic country ballads as the familiar Muscle Shoals sound.

Jason Isbell's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-41 Special (discontinued)
Comparable available model: D-42

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Jorma Kaukonen

In a career that has already spanned a half-century, Jorma Kaukonen has been the leading practitioner and teacher of fingerstyle guitar, one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues, and Americana, and at the forefront of popular rock-and-roll. He was a founding member of two legendary bands, The Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna, a Grammy nominee, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the most in-demand instructor in the galaxy of stars who teach at the Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp that he and his wife operate in picturesque Southeastern Ohio.

Jorma Kaukonen preferred Martin acoustic guitar: M-30 Jorma Kaukonen (discontinued)
Comparable available model: M-36

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Loudon Wainwright III

At 65, Loudon Wainwright III is older than his father ever was, which got him thinking, and writing, and singing. As he puts it, his latest album, Older Than My Father Ever Was, deals with “death ‘n' decay” and he's approached the subject from all angles, with his customary insight, honesty, and rueful humor. But pondering the imponderables can be a lonely business, and so, like never before, Loudon has brought in friends and family to help him with the heavy lifting, leading to an all-start guest roster.

Loudon Wainwright III's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28

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LP

It's simple: Once you see and hear LP, you remember. She's a gripping performer, a curly-headed force of nature who looks like a cross between a young Bob Dylan and Marc Bolan, albeit often wielding a ukulele. A rockin' ukulele, in front of a dynamic, versatile band, that is. And her voice is instantly ear-catching, a natural instrument of power and grace.

LP's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 2 Concert Uke

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The Lumineers

The roots revival of the last few years has primed listeners for a new generation of rustic, heart-on-the-sleeve music—the kind that nods to tradition while setting off into uncharted territory. The Lumineers walk that line with an unerring gift for timeless melodies and soul-stirring lyrics. It will all be on display soon, on the band's first full-length album, due April 3rd via Dualtone Records.

The Lumineers' preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 00-18V

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Mark Ballas

A lifelong dancer and musician, Emmy nominated Mark Ballas has wowed over 20 million viewers on ABC's number one show, “Dancing with the Stars,” for eight seasons. On April 12th, Mark's debut solo album HurtLoveBox, was released by Hit Play Records – Sony Red. A true passion project, HurtLoveBox is an intimate, personal journey of the trials and tribulations of life and relationships. His first single “Hotwire” was the winner of MTV's Freshman Five for 2011 and has been put in rotation on the network. Thus far, it has received over 100 million documented views, and appeared on feature reels in over 100,000 retail and business locations worldwide. Mark was named the Clear Channel “Artist To Watch” in July, 2011.

Mark Ballas' preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 000-18 Golden Era 1937, Custom Shop 000

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Milk Carton Kids

The Milk Carton Kids are a contemporary folk duo from Los Angeles, California. Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan formed the group in early 2011, shelving their solo careers in favor of a collaborative project that focused on harmonized vocals, entwined acoustic guitars, and rootsy songwriting. From the very beginning, the Milk Carton Kids worked fast, releasing a live album (Retrospect) in March 2011 and returning three months later with their full-length studio debut, Prologue. Both recordings were released for free via the band's website. The guys toured heavily, too, pulling double duty as Joe Purdy's opening act and backing band during a spring 2011 tour before launching a headlining tour of their own after Prologue's release.

Milk Carton Kids' preferred Martin acoustic guitars: 0-15 (discontinued)
Comparable available model: 00-15M

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Mountain Sprout

Mountain Sprout has the look of wild all over them in their long beards and smoke and drink while they play attitudes. It is a potent combination and it works. The Quartet plays wild and loose too, sawing fiddles or trashing banjos. They inject their funny songs about hard living with fervor and a sense of believability.

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Mumford & Sons

Since they formed in December 2007, the members of Mumford & Sons have shared a common purpose: to make music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously. Four young men from West London in their early twenties, they have fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices. They are staunch friends - Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett, and Ted Dwane - who bring their music to us with the passion and pride of an old-fashioned, much-cherished, family business. They create a gutsy, old-time sound that marries the magic of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the might of Kings Of Leon, and their incredible energy draws us in quickly to their circle of songs, to the warmth of their stories, and to their magical community of misty-eyed men.

Mumford & Sons' preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28

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Of Monsters And Men

Of Monsters and Men are five friends from Iceland who’s 2012 debut album “My Head Is An Animal” is a collection of epic folk-infused pop songs. With the group’s multi-platinum single “Little Talks”, the band (consisting of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar Þórhallsson, Brynjar Leifsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, Kristján Páll Kristjánsson) has become a break out act all around the world.

Of Monsters and Men's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: D-28 Marquis Sunburst Lefty, 000-15M

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NEEDTOBREATHE

Named after acclaimed University of Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, brothers Bear and Bryant "Bo" Rinehart were born and raised in rural Possum Kingdom, South Carolina, where their pastor father ran a church camp. After moving to nearby Seneca, the two siblings were exposed to a variety of music and started playing instruments themselves. While enrolled at Furman University several years later, Bear — besides being an excellent wide receiver (he won the 2002 Banks McFadden trophy for South Carolina's football player of the year) — moonlighted as a vocalist, guitarist, and pianist, even finding time to perform around campus with longtime friend and drummer Joe Stillwell. Meanwhile, Bo studied architecture at Clemson while playing guitar in his spare time, and he and bassist Seth Bolt joined the Bear/Stillwell duo to form Needtobreathe.

NEEDTOBREATHE's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: 00-DB Jeff Tweedy, D-41 Ambertone, CEO-7, BCPA4, 000C Nylon (12-Fret), Grand J-28LSE

NEEDTOBREATHE's preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP 7200)

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EdSheeran

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Panic! At The Disco

First they infected us with A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, then they captivated us with Pretty. Odd. and now it's Panic! At The Disco's turn to remind us why we fell in love with them in the first place. With Vices & Virtues, their first album as a duo, frontman/multi-instrumentalist Brendon Urie and drummer/percussionist Spencer Smith have proven that their best ideas are just starting to get realized—and the disc not only marks the beginning a new era for this Grammy-nominated, Las Vegas-based rock act but in many ways also rings in a new period of musical and emotional growth that shows no signs of subsiding.

Panic! At the Disco's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-15M

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panicatthedisco
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Rachel Sermanni

Rachel's latest record, Under Mountains, comes from a wizened perspective that belies her relative youth. With a voice both husky and sweet, she composes songs that rollick, roll, and swim with sweet melody. This 21 year old Scot is a break out success, and is just getting started.

Rachel Sermanni's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-18

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rachelsermanni

rachelsermannialbum
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Rory Block

"If you like music steeped in tradition and genuine feeling, this is your woman," says People Magazine, and they are spot on. With a sultry twang and a mean slide sound, Rory Block spins songs that transport you to another place and time.

Rory Block's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: OM-40 Rory Block (discontinued)
Comparable available model: OM-28V

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roryblock

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Samantha Crain

A Choctaw Indian, Crain grew up in the small town of Shawnee listening to her father's Dylan and Grateful Dead records, dabbling in painting (a pursuit she took seriously enough to later land a gallery exhibition in Oklahoma City) and trying her hand at writing short stories. The movement in the songs of Kid Face, her latest release, is purposeful, as Crain searches for herself and her place in the universe. Think of Kid Face as a key early chapter in what promises to be an extended, enthralling personal saga. Woody would have been proud.

Samantha Crain's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 00-15M

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samanthacrain

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Seth Lakeman

Celebrated folk singer-songwriter and virtuoso fiddler Seth Lakeman could not have dug deeper into his Devon roots for his 6th album, “Tales from the Barrel House”. In his boldest musical statement yet, Seth has not only written all the songs, but played every musical contribution himself, as well as producing and mixing the album.His usual bow-shredding violin riffs are there, as are his driving tenor guitar rhythms, but it's the new primitive sounds he's conjured up that give this album its atmospheric vibe.

Seth Lakeman's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 5-15 tenor from the Custom Shop

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sethlakeman

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Sleepy Man Banjo Boys

Over eight hundred miles from the Grand Ole Opry and the birthplace of Bluegrass, 9-year-old banjo picker Jonny Mizzone and his brothers, Robbie 12, and Tommy 14, might be the most unassuming bluegrass trio in the region. The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys are the result of faith in God, brotherly-love, and a passion for this fast pickin' & fiddlin' genre. Though their combined age is younger than music's Hip-Hop era, it's the music of Flatt & Scruggs & Ralph Stanley that inspires the sound pouring from the strings of Jonny's banjo, Robbie's fiddle, and Tommy's guitar. Just as comfortable picking on his back, eyes closed, Jonny was the inspiration, and the name had emerged: the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys were born.

Sleepy Man Banjo Boys' preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28 Clarence White

Sleepy Man Banjo Boys' preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP 7200)

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sleepymanbanjoboys
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Surfer Blood

Though South Florida doesn't have the tides to shoot the curl, West Palm Beach's Surfer Blood fuse sunny surf rock charm with indie rock cool. Guitarist/vocalist John Paul Pitts and drummer Tyler Schwarz had known each other since high school; they started playing together and connected with guitarist Thomas Fekete, bassist Brian Black, and percussionist Marcos Marchesani at an Ultra Music Festival after-party, officially becoming Surfer Blood in spring 2009.

Surfer Blood's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: 00-DB Jeff Tweedy, 00-15M, BCPA4

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surferblood

surferblood
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Mac Powell of Third Day

Multi-platinum-selling rock band Third Day has played to millions of fans in numerous sold-out arenas around the world. It's garnered 25 No. 1 singles across multiple formats—not to mention armloads of Grammy and Dove Awards. Yet the band's willingness to struggle openly before fans and critics alike to unearth its identity, purpose and mission stands as Third Day's most valued accomplishment during its first decade together. Backing up the band's ascent, Billboard magazine noted the act is "not only one of the best Christian bands of the '90s but one of the best rock bands, period.”...

Mac Powell of Third Day's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: D-35 Johnny Cash Lefty and D-35 Lefty

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thirdday

thirdday
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Valerie June

It's been a long night if that's what happened," Valerie June laughs when asked about her seemingly overnight breakout in the UK. By the time she released her debut album, 'Pushin' Against A Stone,' the Tennessee native had already performed on Later… with Jools Holland, sung a stunning duet with Eric Church at the ACM Awards, toured with Jake Bugg, graced spreads in top music and fashion magazines, and earned some of the year's most glowing reviews. But June traveled a long road to the remarkable moment at which she now finds herself.

Valerie June's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: 000-15M

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EdSheeran

TMCK
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Weezer

Weezer has been around since 1992, and in its present form since September 2001. Weezer consists of Rivers Cuomo, primary songwriter, lead vocals and guitar, Patrick Wilson, drums, guitar, vocals, and production whiz, Brian Bell, guitar and keyboards and vocals, and Scott Shriner, bass, vocals, and keyboards. Whether on the stage or in the studio its not uncommon to see just about anyone in the band playing just about anything they can get their hands on. Its also not uncommon to see some pretty wacky stuff go down both on stage and on the web. Weezer has sold over 10 million albums and has played thousands of shows to date.

Weezer's preferred Martin acoustic guitars: DC-16GTE, BCPA4

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weezer

weezer
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