Martin Tielli

Martin Tielli

 Ancaster, Ontario, CAN
BandRockClassical

Martin Tielli (born 1967, Italy) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. He was a member of the Rheostatics, and has also released material as a solo artist and with the side project Nick Buzz. As well, he has appeared as a guest musician on albums by Barenaked Ladies, Kevin Hearn, The Waltons, Jane Siberry, Ashley MacIsaac, Meryn Cadell and Mia Sheard. He is also a painter, and created most of the album covers for the Rheostatics. In 2005 he shot a movie entitled Black Widow with Mary Margaret O'Hara

Biography

"I find adulthood to be a very black situation."
- Martin Tielli

"Is Martin some kind of genius?"
- Neil Peart, Rush, quoted in On a Cold Road,
the book by Rheos bandmate Dave Bidini.

For nearly two decades, Martin Tielli has been a lighthouse to the lucky, an impassioned and utterly original voice, guiding listeners through the suit-infested waters of commercialized pap to Canada’s wild harbours where music and heart still matter.

Martin’s instantly recognizable melodic howl and signature ethereal guitar playing, adored by fans and critics across North America, have made him a fixture in the record collections of the self-professed cognoscenti, no doubt to his own ambivalent approval.

Now halfway through the tragically ambitious subscription series announced in 2003, Martin is working toward the completion of The Ghost of Danny G and New Gold. No one contests that Martin delivers, and the first two releases in the subscription series have met with rabid acclaim from fans.

The first album, Operation Infinite Joy, was recorded with the Martin's other band, Operation Infinite Justice (Ford Pier, Greg Smith and Barry Mirochnick) created to support the Poppy Salesman tour. OIJ was also released commercially and is available on-line and in record stores, though the subscription series version contains a bonus track. Schoenberg Cabarets features a Nick Buzz alumni reunion performing pieces by classical composer Arnold Schoenberg. The Ghost of Danny G is the perfect Hallowe'en record and relates musically the tale of a haunted southern Ontario town. The fourth and final installment, New Gold, is a symphonic work arranged by Jon Goldsmith.

"O, my precious, beautiful, quiet self," Martin has said of his largely acoustic solo album, We Didn't Even Suspect That He Was The Poppy Salesman. "People forget to ask themselves, 'Why would anyone want to hear this? About how lonely I feel?' It’s a fine line."But that record's reception, and Martin's long-term love affair with fans, has proved that lots of folks are interested in Martin’s musings.

Martin is perhaps best known as a member of the Rheostatics, the only band besides the Guess Who with two albums ranked in the top ten in a recent survey of music critics to determine Canada’s top-100 rock records.

The Rheos have released eleven albums since 1987, inspired by such national icons as Stompin’ Tom Connors, novelist Paul Quarrington, the Group of Seven, CBC’s late-lamented late-night Nightlines, a gnomish steel-guitar player in southern Ontario, hockey player Wendell Clark, Gordon Lightfoot and more. “The modus operandi of the Rheostatics is that you can be a complete buffoon one minute and then say something profound the next,” says Martin. The band’s fans tend toward rabid enthusiasm for all things Rheo, willing to share their contagion with reckless abandon. And a new album is in the works.

In 1996, under the name Nick Buzz, Martin released the highly acclaimed Circo, which united him with musical idols Jon Goldsmith, Hugh Marsh and Rob Piltch. Goldsmith and Marsh rattled his teenage cage years earlier when they played with Bruce Cockburn, and Rob Piltch was a member of Blood, Sweat and Tears; for the fledgling ‘solo’ artist, no better accompanists could be imagined. Circo was re-released by Six Shooter Records in 2002.

In 2001, Martin recorded We Didn’t Even Suspect That He Was The Poppy Salesman, essentially a live-from-the-floor acoustic album also released by Six Shooter Records. Long-time collaborator Michael Phillip-Wojewoda, with whom the Rheostatics have recorded several albums, produced Poppy Salesman.

"I don’t like twiddling knobs,"Tielli explains, "and Mike is like a writing partner; he knows how to edit me immediately. His calls are freakishly uncanny. He’ll suggest something and I’ll fight it every time, but in retrospect it’s always an amazing call -- not just, 'Oh yeah, you were probably right,' but 'Holy cow, you were so right.'"

Martin has also lent his musical talents to other premiere Canadian acts, including Jane Siberry, the Barenaked Ladies, The Waltons, Meryn Cadell, Ashley MacIsaac, Tamara Williamson, Mia Sheard and, most recently, Kevin Hearn.

Enthusiasts can view sketchbook samples and purchase prints from The Story of Harmolodia, a work for which he was nominated for a Juno for Outstanding Album Design, at www.martintielli.net.

Martin received the Ontario Arts Council’s prestigious K. M. Hunter Award for Music in 2002, and was voted Best Guitar Player in the NOW magazine 2000 reader poll. He has composed soundtracks for movies and television, as a solo artist and with the Rheostatics, including music for the motion picture Whale Music, starring another Canadian enigma, Maury Chaykin.

Tielli's talents include the visual arts. A gifted painter, he has contributed original artwork to every Rheostatics album and all his solo projects, with a 24-page booklet planned to support the subscription s

Lyrics

The Bridge (Waterstriders)

Written By: Martin Tielli

I'll go when the sun gets lower.
Down by the bridge,
where the amber water pools
and foam gathers in stones by the shore.
All along the river,
waterstriders play.
I'm thinking about...
I'm thinking about...
I'm thinking about...

You are descended from the slaves
who escaped to here in the early days.
Bones weathering from the embankment
after the ice broke.
I'm thinking about forever.
I'm thinking about staying.
I'm thinking about...
I'm thinking about how close you came to dying.

When I die please bury me
underneath the hanging tree.
I want to lie with these questions
forever.

Discography

Solo Discography- We Didn't Even Suspect That He Was the Poppy Salesman 2002 Six Shooter Records.

Operation Infinite Joy 2003 Six Shooter

The Ghost Of Danny Gross 1+2 (Discs 3+4 of Subscription series)

With Nick Buzz

Circo 1996 Dark Light Music

Schoenberg Cabarets (Tielli subscription series only)
2004 Six Shooter

With Rheostatics:

Albums
Greatest Hits, 1987
Melville, 1991
Whale Music, 1992
Music from The Motion Picture Whale Music, 1994
Introducing Happiness, 1994
Music Inspired by the Group of Seven, 1995
The Blue Hysteria, 1996
Double Live, 1997
The Nightlines Sessions, 1998
The Story of Harmelodia, 1999
Night of the Shooting Stars, 2001
2067, 2004
The Whale Music Concert, 1992, 2005
Calling Out the Chords, Vol. 1, 2005