11:55 p.m., SUNDAY, Aug. 19, 2012
After earning a master's in sports management at Baylor and serving an internship with the Fiesta Bowl, John Martin seemed to be on a fast track to follow in his father's footsteps. Dave Martin is the Senior Associate Athletic Director at Oklahoma State University and once served as interim Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
It just seemed like a natural for John to go into daddy's business.
But the artist inside had other ideas.
"That was my first time working in an office, and I just knew that wasn't for me," John said. "I spent more time writing lyrics than actually getting any work done in the office."
Martin, now 30, is a singer-songwriter based in Nashville, Tenn., and just released his first album, Maybe Today.
Here's the cool thing.
Martin, whose musical influences include Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Coldplay, is doing a national tour of living-room concerts. Instead of big arenas or even night clubs, this is a true grass-roots approach, bringing his music into the home.
The idea came from Wednesday night impromptu jam sessions in Nashville, "where we'd pass the guitar around," play songs and share lives.
Encouraged by his friend and mentor, country singer Garth Brooks, Martin does his casual home concerts with an acoustic guitar, a stool and some banter and storytelling with his girlfriend, Glenda Louise. The muse for his song, Magazine Eyes, Louise is part promoter, part supporter and a key player in this unique format.
They met 15 years ago at a church camp in Colorado, reunited about 14 months ago - "And no, we didn't reconnect on Facebook," she says - and have been inseparable ever since. There is a connection, a love, between the two of them that comes through loud and clear in Martin's music and during the living-room concerts.
Ten minutes in, you feel like these two people have been a part of your life forever. At my house, which proudly served as the Waco stop for a tour that's also included Des Moines, Iowa, St. Louis, Mo., Tulsa, Okla., and Dallas, the only people that John knew before that night were me and his college roommate, former baseball and football student trainer Ben Basden.
But by the end of the night, John had a new set of friends and fans. At a time when the music business is filled with carbon copies and cookie cutters, John has a unique sound and rich talent as a songwriter.
Old school party in the living room, no rules waking up in the afternoon
Turn the music up loud dance around like James Brown
If you lose yourself, lose yourself right now
Here are links for his album, Maybe Today: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/maybe-today/id544442894?uo=4 and new single, Old School Party in the Living Room: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/old-school-party-in-living/id548766103?uo=4
You can also follow John on Facebook, Twitter and online at www.johnmartinlive.com.