Featured Martin Ambassadors
Chris Cornell is a rock icon who thrives on contradictions. An innovator who resists genre labels, he was nonetheless the chief architect of the 90s grunge movement. Frequently ranked as one of the best voices in music history, he has successfully maintained his own unique identity over more than two decades as a multi-Grammy award winning musician, Golden Globe nominee and universally acclaimed singer, songwriter, lyricist, and founder of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave.
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)
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
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)
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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 strings: Martin SP Lifespan
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.
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)
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
“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.
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.
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 X Signature Edition - Available for Pre-Order Now
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.
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)
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.
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 strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Light Gauge (MSP 7100)
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP 7200)
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
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
"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
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
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
This trio of brothers: 17 year-old Tommy Mizzone on guitar and harmonies, 16 year-old Robbie Mizzone on fiddle and lead vocals, and 12 year-old Jonny Mizzone on banjo, has made quite an entrance onto the music scene with YouTube videos eclipsing over 28 million views, and appearances on the stages of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, David Letterman, the Grand Ole Opry, Stagecoach, New Orleans Jazz Festival, and Burton Snowboard’s Frendly Gathering. “Their act features sweet lyrics harmonized over driving tempos that crescendo before retreating, only to rise again. Their sound is topped with complicated melodies that fly up and down with fury as they put a youthful, rocked-out twist on Bluegrass.” - Burton Girls
Sleepy Man's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: D-28 Clarence White
Sleepy Man's preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP 7200)
2015 Grammy Award nominee Sturgill Simpson isn’t one to rest on his laurels, which is why, less than a year after the release of his critically acclaimed debut, High Top Mountain, the singer-songwriter is coming out with his captivating and wholly unique sophomore album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, on May 13, 2014, through his own label, High Top Mountain Records.
The album title – an allusion to Ray Charles’ groundbreaking 1962 record, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music -- hints at the psychedelic sounds found within, a departure from Simpson’s first album, which drew comparisons to the music of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. “I think that there is a lot of room in country music for progression and sonic oscillation, which is what I wanted to explore.”
Sturgill Simpson's preferred Martin acoustic guitar: HD-28
Sturgill Simpson's preferred Martin strings: Martin SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium Gauge (MSP 7200)
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.
“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
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.”...
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
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.
00-18SH Signature Edition Pays Tribute<br>to YES Guitarist Steve HoweRelease Date: 01/01/99
Source: Sounding Board Newsletter Vol 6 - January 1999
00-18SH (Steve Howe)
Renowned YES and ASIA guitarist Steve Howe first noticed a Martin guitar when his attention was drawn to a leather-enshrouded Dreadnought on the cover of an Elvis Presley album. Howe soon noticed many other musicians he admired (Lonnie Donegan and Paul Simon among them) playing Martins and, as soon as he was able to afford one, Howe purchased his first Martin, a 1953 00-18 model with a tortoise colored pickguard. This guitar, long cherished by Steve, has been used in live performances and in the recording of many legendary YES acoustic tracks. Since that time, Howe has become an avid collector of acoustic guitars, and he has even published his own book, "The Steve Howe Guitar Collection." Among his arsenal of Martin instruments are additional 00-18 models, a SOM-45, a number of ukuleles, a Style C mandolin and a rare 0-28 dating back to the post Civil War era.
In appreciation of Steve Howe's loyalty to Martin instruments and his significant contribution to the advancement of guitar music, C. F. Martin & Co. is proud to announce the 00-18SH Steve Howe Signature Edition.
Designed with features drawn from Steve Howe's 00-18, and embellished with characteristics selected from standard, vintage and Golden Era guitars, the 00-18SH edition will be limited to a maximum of 250 instruments.
The soundboard of the 00-18SH is carefully crafted of Engelmann Spruce, common to many Martin instruments built in 1953. The top bracing is 1/4" width and delicately hand scalloped to achieve optimum tone. The back, sides and neck are of solid genuine mahogany.
The rosette is inlaid in the old style with thin black inner and outer rings. The body is trimmed with tortoise colored bindings and inlaid with traditional Style 18 black/white/black/white/black. A tortoise colored pickguard, beveled and polished to achieve an under-the-finish appearance, adorns the soundboard.
An unbound genuine ebony fingerboard is inlaid with vintage style 18 abalone position dots. Steve Howe's signature is delicately inlaid between the 18th and 20th frets. The bridge, also sculpted from genuine ebony, is fitted with a vintage long or "through" saddle of genuine bone. The headstock is squared and tapered in the old style with a genuine bone nut. Nickel-plated replicas of the original Kluson "oil-hole" tuners complete the authenticity of the neck.
The soundboard is tinted with golden "vintage toner," and the lacquered body is polished to a high gloss. The interior label will be individually numbered in sequence and personally signed by Steve Howe and Martin CEO C. F. Martin IV.
A charitable contribution of $66.38 (on export sales) or $73.75 (on US sales) for each 00-18SH sold will be donated to the Save the Children Federation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to making lasting, positive change in the lives of disadvantaged children in the United States and throughout the world.
Martin dealers will begin to take orders for the 00-18SH Signature Edition immediately, though, due to heavy demand for Martin instruments, this edition will not begin to appear in stores until the summer of 1999.
Martin Introduces Limited Edition<br>6-String and 12-String Arlo Guthrie "Alice's Restaurant" GuitarsRelease Date: 07/19/97
Source: Press Release
"Alice's Restaurant Massacree," the classic anti-Establishment folk song that helped define the Woodstock era, has reached the age of 30. In honor of the anniversary of this folk anthem about Guthrie's escapades with the police and the draft board, The Martin Guitar Company is proud to announce a collaboration with songwriter Arlo Guthrie to create two limited edition guitars, a six-string 0000-28H AG and a 12-string 0000-28H AG. The Martin Guitar Company will craft up to 30 of each of these commemorative "Alice's Restaurant" limited edition guitars. Each instrument will be numbered in sequence (i.e. #1 of 30, #2 of 30, etc.) and signed by Arlo Guthrie and C. F. Martin, IV, CEO and Chairman of the Martin Guitar Company.
Arlo Guthrie, son of noted folksinger and songwriter Woody Guthrie, learned to play guitar by the age of six. Although his father was hospitalized for many of his early years, Arlo grew up with such folk heroes as Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Leadbelly and Cisco Houston. by the time he was in his teens, Arlo was performing in coffee houses. It was his "Alice's Restaurant" album, released in 1967 and certified gold by the RIAA, that launched him to the forefront of the anti-war movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Arlo Guthrie Limited Edition commemorative guitars will be donated to Guthrie's Interfaith Church Foundation, which is housed in the same church where he wrote "Alice's Restaurant" and where the movie of the same name was filmed in 1969.
Special features of the 6-string Arlo Guthrie guitar include a headplate that combines the classic Martin raised gold foil logo with a pearl inlaid and engraved representation of Alice's Restaurant, the notorious church building in Stockbridge, Massachusetts where the infamous "Massacree" occurred. The unbound genuine ebony fingerboard features inlaid "circles and arrows," and of course, a "paragraph" written by Arlo on the inside of each guitar. The words "Alice's Restaurant 30th" are inlaid at the 12th, 13th and 14th frets. Arlo Guthrie's name is inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets. The top of the guitar is Sitka Spruce with a highly colorful three piece abalone pearl rosette. The sides are selected East Indian rosewood, and the two piece East Indian rosewood back has a Martin style 45 back inlay strip. The guitar is housed in a unique blue jean covered hardshell case.
The 12-string limited edition "Alice's Restaurant" Commemorative utilizes fingerboard and headstock inlays which are identical to the six-string model. Standard 12-string modifications have been made to the neck width and shape, the interior top bracing pattern, the bridge configuration, and the tuning machines.
Arlo Guthrie selected the 0000 stage/studio model, formerly referred to as the "M" size Martin body, because this has been his favorite guitar size for several decades. The "H" stands for herringbone, specifying Martin's legendary herringbone 28 specifications.
Martin Guitar dealers worldwide will begin to take orders for the 0000-28H AG and 000012-28H AG Arlo Guthrie Signature Models immediately, although the guitars will not be available until early 1998.
Johnny Cash Limited Edition<br>Signature Guitar UnveiledRelease Date: 07/29/97
Source: Press Release
Johnny Cash, one of country music's most distinctive figures, and The Martin Guitar Company are proud to introduce the D-42JC Johnny Cash Limited Edition Signature Model, a collaboration between the respected "Man in Black" and Martin. The Johnny Cash Limited Edition Guitar will be available from Martin dealers throughout the world. The edition will be limited to a maximum of 200 guitars, each numbered in sequence and personally signed by Johnny Cash and C. F. Martin, IV, Martin's chairman and CEO.
Johnny Cash , the youngest performer ever inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, is also in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Although he starts every concert with the words, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash," This is one artist who needs little introduction. Cash is one of the most recognizable and respected figures in country music and is acknowledged to be one of the biggest stars the industry has ever produced. Throughout his long career, Johnny Cash has shown tremendous loyalty to Martin guitars. His favorites include the first black guitar ever crafted by Martin, Cash's custom D-35 made in 1989. He also plays a Martin Bicentennial Limited Edition (#375) and a custom D-45 made in 1982 and signed by both C. F. Martin, III, and C. F. Martin, IV.
The Johnny Cash Limited Edition Guitar is the first all-black limited edition ever offered by Martin. Hand-crafted entirely of solid woods, this D-42JC is a 14-fret Dreadnought with high performance forward-shifted scalloped X-bracing. The three piece back is made of East Indian Rosewood with Martin style 45 multi-colored back inlay strips. The neck shape was inspired by the Hank Williams/Johnny Cash D-45. The fingerboard is genuine ebony and is inlaid with abalone stars, delicately bordered with mother-of-pearl. The rosette and the perimeter of the body are bordered with highly colorful style 42 abalone pearl inlay. Johnny Cash's signature will be inlaid between the 19th and 20th frets. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Johnny Cash Limited Edition Guitars will be donated to The Carter Family Memorial Music Center.
A native of Kingsland, Arkansas, Johnny Cash began playing the guitar and writing songs in the 1950s while serving in the Air Force. His hits include such favorites as "I Walk the Line," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "A Boy Named Sue." Widely known for his prison performances and songs, Cash has won three Grammy Awards. He is married to singing partner June Carter.
Martin Guitar dealers will begin to take orders for the Johnny Cash Limited Edition Guitars immediately, though due to heavy demand for Martin instruments, this edition will not appear in stores until early 1998.
C. F. Martin Commemorates the 100th Anniversary<br>of Jimmie Rodgers' Birth with Limited Edition<br>Replica of Legendary "Blue Yodel" GuitarRelease Date: 01/16/97
Source: Press Release
Anaheim, CA - C. F. Martin & Co. is honored to introduce the 000-45JR Jimmie Rodgers Limited Edition Guitar. This historic instrument commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jimmie Rodgers, acknowledged to be the "Father of Country Music." C. F. Martin will offer 100 of these special Brazilian rosewood guitars for sale worldwide.
Jimmie Rodgers, widely known as "America's Blue Yodeler," was referred to as the "Singing Brakeman" during his railroad days. Born in Meridian, Mississippi on September 8, 1897, James Charles Rodgers traveled the country extensively by railroad in his early years and was exposed to many indigenous styles of music. Jimmie Rodgers combined diverse influences in his own songs and in 1927, at the age of 30, he auditioned for Ralph Peer, Sr., an RCA Victor talent scout. His first record was made at the now legendary "Bristol session," and the rest is history.
The original Jimmie Rodgers 000-45 Martin is possibly the most valuable (if not priceless) guitar ever made. Its worth is certainly affected by the fact that it was Jimmie Rodgers' favorite personal guitar. He made nearly all of his popular recordings with his Martin.
At his peak, the recordings of Jimmie Rodgers had the greatest worldwide sales of any artist of his era. Although his career lasted only a short five years, his music influenced several generations of folk, blues, and country stars. Rodgers died while recording in New York City on May 26, 1933, at age 35, a victim of tuberculosis. After his death, Rodgers' widow lent the guitar to Ernest Tubb who performed with it for four decades.
When Ernest Tubb died, the 000-45 was returned to Jimmie Rodgers' daughter, Anita, who made arrangements to donate the instrument to the Smithsonian Institution until she learned the Smithsonian would not have been able to display the guitar on a permanent basis. The guitar was then donated to the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Mississippi where it is featured in a vault behind a glass door as part of the permanent display. A sign states, "Presented to Jimmie Rodgers in Washington, D.C. by Mr. C. Frederick Martin, President of the Martin Guitar Co., July 27, 1927." In addition to this particular guitar's colorful history, the 000-45 model is sought after on the vintage guitar market, attracting buyers who pay from $50,000 to $100,000 for one of these very rare instruments.
Martin's Artist Relations Manager Dick Boak and Prototype Coordinator Dale Eckhart traveled to Meridian to visit the Jimmie Rodgers Museum in May of 1996. While there, they took extensive measurements and photographs of the Jimmie Rodgers guitar in order to develop the specific appointments necessary to replicate this special instrument.
The 000-45JR Jimmie Rodgers model is crafted with Martin's "Golden Era" features. The term "Golden Era" refers to vintage Martin instruments made prior to World War II. During the pre-war era, Martin's unique, almost magical blend of well chosen materials, optimized design, and hand-crafted construction created what many collectors and guitar experts believe to be the finest acoustic stringed instruments ever made. Over the past 20 years, Martin has reintroduced nearly all of the individual styles and features of those pre-war instruments. The return of the vintage attributes to production has been well received by the guitar playing community, including references to the 1990s as Martin's "Second Golden Era." The demand for a Golden Era Series has challenged Martin to recreate, as faithfully as possible, models that have long since become legendary.
The 000 12-fret model is a somewhat obscure but highly sought after pre-war Martin size and style. The graceful "000" 12-fret body shape is particularly suited for guitarists who favor more delicate fingerstyle techniques.
A solid spruce soundboard, bookmatched from rare Adirondack "red" spruce, is braced with the original pre-war Martin scalloped X-brace pattern, forward shifted to a position 1" from the soundhole. Linen reinforcement strips are glued in regular intervals along the interior surface of the Brazilian rosewood sides to further strengthen the body. The two-piece back, also fashioned from rare solid "pre-CITES" Brazilian rosewood, features the traditional "Style 45 multi-colored mosaic" back inlay strip. Highly colorful abalone is inlaid around the rosette, as well as the perimeter of the top, sides and back. Ivoroid binding with black/white wood fiber inlay compliments the abalone pearl inlay at all appropriate seams in the vintage 45 style.
The original genuine ebony fingerboard, bound in grained ivoroid, has been faithfully recreated with "JIMMIE RODGERS" inlaid with mother of pearl. In keeping with the original specification, a straight-line ebony bridge features wings inlaid with Maltese snowflakes. The bridge is fitted with a long or "through" fossilized ivory saddle. Fossilized ivory is also used for the nut and for the bridge pins, which are inlaid with vintage 4mm abalone pearl dots.
When he placed his original order in 1927, Jimmie Rodgers requested that the headstock be inlaid with his trademark "BLUE YODELER" in Martin Style 45 letters. It is interesting to note that Martin had a great difficulty fitting all of the "YODELER" letters on the narrow strip between the two peghead slots. As a result, Jimmie Rodgers amended the inlay design to read simply "YODEL." This legendary inlay has been faithfully replicated in mother-of-pearl to match the original guitar. A vintage styled square tapered slotted headstock with square slots is bound in grained ivoroid to match the fingerboard and body, and outfitted with premium quality Waverly-Sloane engraved sidemount tuning machines with ivoroid buttons.
A nitrocellulose lacquer finish is polished to high gloss on all surfaces of the body, neck and headplate. Vintage toner, developed to match the golden color of pre-war aged lacquer, is applied as the base coat on the face of the guitar.One unique and legendary aspect of the original Jimmie Rodgers 000-45 is the hand painted "THANKS" on the back of the guitar. From photographs of the original hand painted letters, a color matched decal replica was created. This decal is offered as an option at no additional surcharge and is applied to the back prior to the application of finish.
A pickguard is not standard on this model, though it is believed that Ernest Tubb added the one that is currently on the original Jimmie Rodgers guitar. An optional tortoise colored pickguard may be ordered with each limited edition guitar. Each pickguard is delicately hand-beveled and polished to approximate the under-the-finish appearance of pre-war pickguards. The original "C. F. Martin hot stamp" that was used on pre-war guitars was retrieved from the Martin Museum in order to burn an authentic "Nazareth, PA" logo onto the back center brace. The current stamp bears the "Made in U.S.A." origin. A deluxe #533 Geib Style hardshell case is included with each instrument.
The original Jimmie Rodgers guitar bears a special interior label in C. F. Martin, III's handwriting that reads, "To Jimmie Rodgers, America's Blue Yodeler, with all good wishes, C. Frederick Martin, July 27, 1927." This original label has been carefully reproduced for the edition. A specially engraved brass plate, mounted just above the serial number inside the guitar body bears the inscription, "JIMMIE RODGERS, "Blue Yodel," 000-45JR, 100th Anniversary, 1897-1997."
Each instrument will be numbered in sequence (i.e. #1 of 100, #2 of 100, etc.) and each instrument will be personally signed by C. F. Martin, IV, Martin's chairman and CEO, who represents the sixth generation of Martin family members to manage the esteemed guitarmaking firm.