For those of you who do not know, Jeff Martin is the former lead singer & guitarist of Canadian trio The Tea Party. He began his career as a solo artist in October 2005, when The Tea Party disbanded. In 2010, Martin began work on new music with Jay Cortez and Malcolm Clark (formerly of The Sleepy Jackson) for a new album, his second solo studio effort, to be entitled The Ground Cries Out under the new bandname of Jeff Martin 777. On March 20th, I’d posted a video of Jeff playing a solo acoustic version of one of the songs from this album, Riverland Rambler.
Jeff Martin’s music, both with his former band and his solo stuff, has a timeless quality to it. He borrows from 1970’s heavy metal bands like Led Zepplin and mixes the heavy blues with Middle Eastern influences and creates a totally different sound. He is ably assisted in this venture by J Cortez (Sleepy Jackson/The Armada) on bass and Malcom Clarke (Sleepy Jackson/The Basement Birds) on drums. With that middle eastern melody, The Ground Cries Out starts out with the title track, mysterious elements mixing with a rock drum groove. More Southern rock sounding Queen Of Spades has this semi-acoustic 12 string guitar riff that is so infectious & groovy. This song is made even more enjoyable by the accompanying of a clapping track in places. Pure 70s music.
She’s Leaving starts off very quietly, as a melodic acoustic guitar starts things off to be joined by Martin’s perfect pitch voice. It’s a lament of someone who has left his love to be lonely for too long. And it builds up slowly as it moves along. The Cobra has this amazing riff first with acoustic & then an electric guitar that “snakes” (pun intended) through the song as it builds tension. The symphonic interlude of this main riff after the first verse is so strong, I could just listen to a loop of that all day. 1916 is a propulsive blues track which is about a man begging his lady love to take him back and all the things that he would do if she would. With an Oriental/Chinese sounding melody, let The Meekong take you away to a far away land, where things are different from your world. You may even find yourself checking to see if it was the same CD that u were previously listening to!
One Star In Sight is an acoustic driven number that brings back memories of 70s bands, with warbling sounds and steady strumming of guitars. Blue Mountain Sun is a gentle instrumental with jangly acoustic guitars accompanied by the beautiful pedal steel versions that makes it sunny and warm. The song actually remind me of a flowing river or a pond. Santeria maintains the acoustic theme yet augmenting it with electric guitars, drums & bass. Martin excels at the story telling kind of song and Riverland Rambler is no exception. It tells us about an alternative kind of minister who is ‘cool’ and thumps the bible at the same time and has a large following. Finally we have The Pyre is a stomping rock groove track which has this stop-start riffage with rich orchestration that makes it a stand out track and a great album closer.
Jeff Martin is looking to do things his own way and keep his influences & tastes on display for others to discover & enjoy. Here;s the video for first single & title track The Ground Cries Out.