Todd Martin
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Todd Martin

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
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"Todd Martin Plays the Whiskey Bar"

Many singer-songwriters sing sad songs about love. Yet Todd Martin doesn't merely talk about love; he examines it. The music is deeply personal and fully realized in his latest full-length album, "Time for Good," which was released in October.

The tour:

As part of the East coast tour promoting the new album, he is performing with his new band and also solo. Fans of his work will have the chance to hear him in acoustic mode at the Whiskey Bar on Tuesday, April 25. This is Martin's fourth album, yet his first studio production. The first three were self produced and include one live album.

As a singer-songwriter, he has been compared to John Mayer, which happens to be one of Martin's favorite artists. Yet comparing Martin to Mayer might have some thinking that he is just another pop-rock singer that sings easy songs about love.

Martin's music isn't that light; it stays with you and tells a story much like good country music can. To say his voice is beautiful isn't enough, although it is. With his voice he is able to convey a full range of emotions. It has conviction to it. The songs make you feel like you have just read a page torn from his journal. There is something raw in his delivery that is just beneath the surface of his smooth bass tones.
The band
His latest band is less than a year old and different from the band he recorded "Time For Good" with which included musicians Stephen Kellogg, Dave Chalfant, Brian Factor, and Keith Karlson.
According to Martin, if someone heard the album and caught his acoustic show they would still get the experience of the full band sound. For the acoustic shows he uses a looping station, which gives the music a richer feel. With his start as a solo artist he is trying to figure out the balance of working with a full piece band.
"I don't think I would ever stop playing solo though," said Martin. "I really enjoy the interaction you can get from the smaller rooms."
His roots
Martin has been playing for 10 years and is self taught on the guitar. Before writing his own songs, he started playing chords of Dave Matthews. He counts the Counting Crows, Damian Rice and John Mayer as a sort of inspiration.
"I'm a big fan of John Mayer," said Martin. "I don't try to play like him, but I like him. Every singer-songwriter should write a thank you to him."
According to Martin, Mayer inspired him to write the songs that he likes.
One he is particularly proud of is the last track, "Time for Good."
"The way we pieced it together and the way it came out was so different," said Martin. "It changed in a way. It doesn't have a normal song construction."
According to Martin, the song is about change and loss. It is possibly the saddest song on the album.
"Been the hardest winter and the toughest year, nothing to do with cold around here, the empty chairs, the rooms, the air, the colors smell of first inhale...I hear you're leaving this time for good, it's time for good..."
This song, much like other songs on the album, evokes memories that most people try to forget.
His songs have plain titles like: "Paper," "Rescue," and "Save Myself." and "Strong." The lyrics are simple, but manage to give the listener a snapshot image of life.
"Love Scene" tells the story of a High School girlfriend in all its heartbreaking reality. His solid guitar work flows in and around the lyrics, echoing the sadness of the words.
This is an important album; don't miss your chance to hear it live.
- Diana Schwaeble - 4-19-06


"Todd Martin Mixes It Up"

Friday’s Late Night Music performer, Todd Martin, wasn’t always a musician.
"I’m a Gemini, [which] is typically represented by a pair of twin sisters or brothers," Martin said, drawing attention to the Gemini star sign tattooed on his left arm. "One represents the free thinking/creative soul and the other the more logical and intellectual mind. They always battle each other for power of the being that possesses them."
In compliance with his major in college, Martin saw himself becoming an engineer upon graduation. But after picking up the guitar, he began to question his career plans.
"I’ve been fighting the battle ever since. It seems the creative soul has taken over the last few years and continues to win," Martin said.
Deciding that he "could be an engineer in [his] forties," Martin decided to use this time in his life to fulfill his musical aspirations.
Judging from Friday’s performance, he made the right choice.
But while Martin chose music over engineering as a career, his engineering skills still seem to come in handy.
Throughout the night, in addition to singing, Martin used his hands to play guitar and his feet to play an instrument he created himself. The buttons and pedals, mounted on two clear plastic boards, added a number of unique effects to Martin’s music, including echoes and percussion.
Martin also did a lot of looping, a technology that allows performers to record and replay themselves live. Early in his set, he asked the audience to let the late-comers believe the entire performance was pre-recorded. "I’m merely a projection," Martin said.
The first song of his set, entitled "October," was a slow, heartfelt song about regret; Martin sang, "Could I fill this empty space with you/if I could turn the clock back." Martin used the instrument at his feet to create echoes at the end of some lines, adding an effect of traveling back in time.
He introduced one of his original song, "Save Myself," with an anecdote about a previous performance. While singing at a college in Michigan, Martin was bound to a strict contract that prohibited him from making reference to alcoholic beverages. He explained the song, which is about the adventures of an indulgent 21-year-old, in Hope College terms: it’s a song about "when you turn 25 and you’re allowed to rent cars … and you say to your buddy ‘Wow, we rented a lot of cars last night.’"
The song had a quicker tempo than many of Martin’s others, and featured a catchy chorus. Martin sang, "If only I could stop," where the music would skip a beat and pick up with "Save myself, save my breath, making wonders from the wonderful with every step instead."
By just listening to his next song, "Punchline," one might picture a few friends jamming on a back porch in Mississippi, sipping lemonade. Martin upheld some of the bluegrass twang of "Punchline" even with the absence of the tambourine and banjos present on the album version. He laid additional verses over the looped chorus near the end of the song, replaying "I’ve been waitin’ in the sunshine/ Hangin’ on a phone line/ Just a’waitin’ for the punchline to come."
Martin also played one of his most popular songs, "She Knows," a song about "being with someone you shouldn’t be with," Martin said. The song peaked at number three on Alternative Addiction’s Unsigned Top 10 list in fall 2004 (www.alternativeaddiction. com). Its catchy chorus is woven throughout the song: "She knows she could have it/ cause she knows that I’m a fool/and she knows I am dying and I would say goodbye to you."
Between his original creations, Martin played a number of covers. After an audible approval from the audience, he played the Postal Service’s "The District Sleeps Tonight." During Martin’s rendition, he utilized his mixing board to create a pulsating beat similar to that in the original.
Other cover songs included Damien Rice’s "Cannonball" and Death Cab for Cutie’s "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," in which Martin’s mixer helped him mimic Death Cab’s scratched-record sound.
Martin, originally from Phoenixville, Pa., wrote the song "Brand New" about the monotony of staying in the same place ("This grown-tired town, nothing here to raise the brow") and his subsequent move to Boston ("We’ve got nothing to compare this to now. It’s true life in a real town"). The sound of "Brand New" seemed to offer something novel itself, leading listeners to tap their toes and bob their heads to its almost danceable beat.
Martin’s best story of the night was told before the performance of the title track from his live album.
One of Martin’s good friends had proposed to his girlfriend, who, according to Martin, replied with "I’m busy right now." Determined to marry her, his friend repeated the question again. Her reply was "all in good time."
After the second rejection, Martin’s friend suggested that Martin write a song about her, in hopes that he might use the song to help her accept the proposal.
After hearing the song, it should be no surprise that the third time proved to be the charm.
For "All in Good Time," Martin used two capos on his guitar, one of which he cut and sized himself. This allowed Martin to play in two different keys at one time.
The result was a strong melody with a unique sound. On top of this were Martin’s clever lyrics that could stand alone as poetry: "Well, April comes and bring what May. Well, June Ju-lied to me too. With August left, I can’t feel my chest from the weight of the Fall of you."
Martin’s set offered a night of catchy original songs, familiar covers and anecdotes to break up the performance.
"We chose him because we felt like his energy and music fit in well with the 7th Street Cafe vibe," said Kelly Boylan, chair of the Late Night Music committee.
Living up to Boylan’s expectations, a majority of Martin’s listeners remained at 7th Street Café until the end of the performance at 1 a.m.
Sara LaPorte, Assistant Director of Campus Activities and Events, agreed that Martin’s performance was approved by the café’s audience.
"You could tell he was passionate about his music and all of his original songs were awesome," said LaPorte. "I think the students definitely enjoyed him, but may not have been quite as ‘interactive’ as they are with some of the other performers because he had a more calm energy about him. I can definitely see the students bringing him back in the future."
- Catherine Heverling - 3/3/06


"Time For Good (review)"

Todd Martin has been part of the growing list of touring troubadours over the past few years, and with the release of his third full-length release, he is beginning to come of age as a musical artist. Time for Good was recorded with Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers as his backing band, and the result is a perfect backdrop for Martin’s breezy alt/rock vibe. He’s also got a voice that is instantly recognizable even if you’ve never heard him before, falling somewhere between Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Barry Privett (Carbon Leaf) and Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies). Musically, there are flavors of all of the above, mixed together with the influences of contemporary singer/songwriters like Matt Nathanson and Howie Day.

“Save Myself” is a well-crafted opener, though it almost seems as if Martin is trying to rush to get to the next song. “Love Scene” paints some vivid images and has the ultra-catchy tag line “Oh can I get every/Love scene of the play?” This is a song that could and should wind up on a movie soundtrack. “Punchline” has a folk feel akin to Carbon Leaf or even a male Patty Griffin, and “Out To Sea” has that half-dark, emotive modern rock feel ala Toad the Wet Sprocket—and there is something about the guitar parts that will make your neck hairs stand up. Tracks like “Midas to Minus” and “Brand New” have infectious choruses, and other standouts are the rocking “Paper” and the anthemic “Rescue.”

Todd Martin is surely stuck in a crowded field, but there is no denying his talent – surrounding yourself with the likes of Kellogg will do that to a young artist. It’s also clear that Martin has taken elements of heartbreak, the road and memories—and tied them all together into neat melodic packages that get his messages across. When the labels get back around to signing artists with great voices and a keen sense of melody, along with the ambition to match, they’ll be knocking on Martin’s door.

4 of 5 stars
- Mike Farley - http://www.bullz-eye.com


"Todd Martin (TFG review)"

Good music is timeless. The art of fusing music and lyrics together, to end up with something people will enjoy, is no mean feat and something I've always wished I could do. Needless to say Todd Martin has managed that and then some. This album has a really nice groove to it. Laid back enough to relax to, but upbeat enough so as not to send you to sleep. There's a lot here that reminds me of Hootie and the Blowfish (Where are they now?) with a vocal style more akin to Tom Robinson.

The album starts nicely with the very Hootieesque "Save Myself". Upbeat, and catchy, with a great hook that manages to slide under your skin to get your feet tapping. "Love Scene" is a little on the softer side, but no less infectious. By the third track, "Out to Sea" I'd really begun to warm to the album. The album pretty much follows that formula, from something laid back, to something a bit feistier and back again.

There's certainly some great songs on this album. My favorite tracks would have to be "Punchline", "From Midas to Minus" and "Rescue". As with many great albums, this one closes with a lengthy 6 minute piece, titled "Time for Good" and rounds the album off beautifully.

Conclusion : Todd has a great voice with lots of character. The songs have that lyrical quality that really shines. It's a great album to chill to and a definite one to play when you want something for those more reflective moments..
Rating : 8 out of 10
- Colin - http://www.indielaunchpad.com


"Review - Time For Good"

I first heard of Matt Nathanson from the band Gratitude (RIP) when we talked with them and after that I checked him out and dug it, so when Todd Martin was compared to Nathanson in his bio I was pretty excited. Unlike Nathanson though, Todd Martin has a bit of a pop influence thrown into his singer-songwriter style that makes him all that much better. Right from the start I felt that Martin’s voice was a cross between the Barenaked Ladies and Counting Crows and since I like both of them I was hooked. The song structure of this album is what really won me over though. A poppier song kicks off the album, then a few slower ones, then another poppy one and so on. You are never bored with this CD like so many others. The tattoo on the cover reads “Next Big Nothing,” and I will agree with it, Martin is not the next big anything, he is here! - http://www.allageszine.com


"Not just a "Next Big Nothing""

Though the cover art professes "next big nothing," singer songwriter Todd Martin's winning combination of seasoned song-craft, cinematic lyrics, and plaintive veneer are sure to attract adult alternative fans (think NPR) with wider exposure. Arranged and recorded with a warm, organic resonance reminiscent of the best work of artists ranging from The Band to The Wallflowers to David Gray (to whom Martin shows a distinct artistic kinship) Martin's hum-able melodies float over a mellow back-beat like a summer breeze. But the boy can rock too, as evidenced by the jagged "Diamond Friendships" which features a very funky old-school organ break by Keith Karlson who must have some Stax records in his collection. Steven Kellogg's ragged vocal duet with Martin on the two-step country flavored chorus of "Punchline" is the stuff of Ryan Adams' claim to fame. There's Gold buried here I'm sure. - : http://www.minor7th.com/shorttakes2_06.html


"Newcomer Martin is still laid-back"

Up and coming singer/guitarist Todd Martin branches from his Philadelphian roots with hopes of developing his musical career through a national tour, including a recent solo, acoustic appearance in Los Angeles.

With his recently developing career in the music industry, Todd Martin has not yet been corrupted by the stardom and glamour of the business. His personality, like his music, is laidback and upbeat, which offers a promising career as he distinguishes himself among the John Mayers, Jack Johnsons and Ryan Adamses of his acoustic-folk-rock industry.

Growing up the youngest of three brothers and one sister who are all about five years apart and all grew up listening to their dad playing Willie Nelson on the radio, it is easy to see how he became the easygoing, personable musician he is today.

Before picking up the guitar, Martin had already played the clarinet and the piano. He jokes that his height, at almost 6 feet tall in the sixth grade, encouraged him to transfer from his all-girl clarinet class, to a different instrument. It was not until age 17 that he finally picked up a guitar, but he seems to have realized his calling and has been writing and singing 95 percent of his band's music for the past eight years.

As most good musicians tend to be, Martin is a self-taught guitar player, and said that his background is greatly influenced by the likes of Counting Crows, Rusted Root and Howie Day. In fact, the first song that he ever taught himself is Dave Matthews' "I'll Back You Up," which he played at the wedding of two of his friends.

His second album, How It Is That I'm Alone, is essentially an account of everything that he went through in a relationship with his last girlfriend. The album consists of several love songs, but his relationship ended before he recorded them in the studio, so the last part of the album relates how he felt without her. While he admits the CD is very personal to him, he recognizes that "it is easier for me to write about myself and what I know."

Martin possesses a great enthusiasm for what he produces and has released three albums in the last two years. His newest album is titled Live From My Hometown and includes recordings of his best songs from various shows around Philadelphia. Track 8 on the album, titled "She Knows" recently hit No. 1 on the Alternative Addiction Unsigned Band charts.

His family and friends play a large part in his music, as bandmate Brad Saville is one of his best friends, since they played hockey when they were 13 years old, and his parents and siblings attend every show of his that they can.

Martin and Saville began their musical career playing small gigs, college parties and benefits around Philadelphia. Martin attended Villanova University, the origin of his solid fan-base, and gained his musical confidence as several people at the university began to book him for parties and events.

Additionally, Martin graduated from Villanova with a degree in engineering after devoting most of his time to his studies and became an engineer out of college. However, he has abandoned that career in pursuit of a musical one.

Since his development into a musician, he has had the privilege of playing with musicians like Matt Nathanson, one of his role models.

"I get to go to shows that I would have been paying to see anyway," he said.

He adds that life solely dedicated to music is much different than playing music on the side and that he is really enjoying the free time that he now has to write songs while he is on the road.

He is rarely on the road with his band because they each have their own things going on, but he said that he loves when they play shows with him. The band consists of Matt Holub on keys, Mark Norvick on bass guitar, Casey Schafer on drums, and Saville on guitar and backup vocals.

As his career develops, Martin, naturally, hopes to establish a larger fan base, and intends to continue to keep his music real.

He has plans to record his fourth album in May, which is set for release in August. Martin input that this album will not be a concept album, but will instead consist of songs from various genres, some incorporating violin and cello, similar to Dave Matthews, but all in Martin's own style. - USC - Daily Trojan - March 22, 2005


"Martin breaks out on first tour"

There is a bit of buzz coursing through the northeastern United States involving musician Todd Martin.

The 28-year-old will be trying to spread the buzz through the Midwest and the West Coast with a string of live performances, including a show in Milwaukee Sunday at the Bremen Café.

Originally from Philadelphia, Martin fell into music by picking up a guitar at the age of 15.

"I started off kind of slow, trying to self-teach myself. It was a really slow process at first. I wasn't dedicated and didn't realize how much fun it was. I put (the guitar) down through high school and was more of an athlete," he said.

Martin began writing and playing again in college to get his mind off school. The writing led to music and performances, but live shows have only come about in the last four or five years, he says.

"I had a great time playing in a band with a lot of friends." Martin said. "We played a lot of clubs and were known more for our cover show. I became a bit frustrated with booking smaller clubs for original work."

Martin says even though booking shows and getting paid for the covers was the way to earn some money, he wanted to break free. In 2003, he made the move to Boston in hopes of jumpstarting his career in the singer/songwriter market, like a few of his favorite musicians from the area.

"Coming back to Philadelphia, I do better here now that I left. Maybe I should move back and I'll do better in Boston," he jokes.

Music is now Martin's career of choice.

"I just recently quit my day job. If I was going to make it work it was going to happen before I was 40."

Martin gained some mainstream attention with MTV licensing music from his newest studio release How It Is That I'm Alone for "Real World" and "Road Rules."

He finds the attention really exciting and, since he doesn't get to watch TV often, it's great that the music was picked up by shows he and his friends watch.

"I'd love to see (my songs played) not just because of what it means for my music, but it would be funny to see a show and one of my songs playing in the background. It'd be surreal or entertaining to me if nothing else."

He takes life in stride — even when it's peculiar — like when he got a joke "hate letter" from a penguin named Wallace. He says it's quirky and weird — like he is.

Martin also performed in the "Rock the Cause 2005" concert benefiting VH1's Save the Music Foundation at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. recently.

Coming to Milwaukee is a first for him, not just in the touring sense.

"I've never been to Milwaukee," he said. "Never landed in Milwaukee, maybe I've connected through there to get to Detroit and Chicago."

Martin hopes to bring something new to the area, even trying loop samplers like Howie Day in order to build a song in front of his audience.

"My style of music plays well in our demographic. I put on an entertaining show. I'm not another boy with a guitar." Martin said. - Marquette Tribune - March 10, 2005


Discography

Live From My Hometown (2003)
How It Is that I'm Alone(2004)
Recalls and Revisions (2005)
Time For Good (2005)
This Is the Ends (2006)
Mont Clare (2007)

Several tracks from the CDs above receive airplay on internet, college and AAA radio.

Photos

Bio

With a broad range of influences such as Death Cab For Cutie, Damien Rice, Neil Young, and Ryan Adams, Todd Martin's songwriting style brings contemporary folk writing to pop music. This one man entertainment package stands high above many in a crowded world of male singer/songwriters. "[Todd Martin] puts on an amazing one man acoustic show. On the stage he is comfortable and adorable. - Dianna Augustine, Amps Eleven Magazine