We just wrote about Eugene, OR-based singer-songwriter Jeffrey Martin a few months ago with an Inside the Songs feature, but now he’s back with a new EP that proves once again what a natural talent he has for writing great folk songs. Martin’s EP, Build A Home, is a stripped back affair, just his singing and guitar with beautiful harmonies from Portland-based multi-instrumentalist Anna Tivel. They make a great duo, heck they should be touring together! Here’s a look at Jeffrey and Anna singing the song “Angeline” from Jeffrey’s EP:
Jeff Martin's EP, Build a Home, weighs in at 6 songs, a little bit longer than most but not long enough to be a full-length. It’s a sweet little gem of an album, and should serve as a great introduction to Martin’s songwriting. For me, the standout track on the album is “Thief and a Liar.” It’s the best song I’ve heard yet written about the Wall Street debacle that’s still crippling our country. It’s not ostensibly an “Occupy” song, but it should be. Especially with a chorus like this: “I’m a thief and a liar of the very worst kind/I sell to the broken and I rob them blind/I’ll build you a house with my own two hands/and then burn it to the ground as quick as I can...” It’s not hard to rail about our country, which seems to be institutionally constructed to allow the rich to rob us all blind, mostly with our own permission. But the most chilling line from the song is this: “When’s the 99% gonna wake up and see/power is your finger on the trigger, not a head full of dreams.” I don’t think he’s necessarily writing this line as if he believes it; it seems more like something his anti-hero song narrator is saying. But after interviewing popular Northwest songwriter Laura Love last year about her brutal arrest and beating at the hands of Oakland police, it sure seems to be a cold-blooded statement of our times and of my generation.
There are about a million-and-one singer-songwriters out there plying their age-old trade, and truth is that it’s hard these days for the really great writers to stand out. But what can you do? The only thing is to keep making the best music you can and to let the great ones filter to the top. Hopefully Jeffrey Martin’s on the road to receiving the accolades to come. For now, you can say you knew him “when”.
PS: Congrats to Jeff on his second-place finish at the Mountain Stage New Song Contest!
Jeffrey Martin: Thief and a Liar
This post originally appeared on the Hearth Music Blog. Check out our website and roam through our blog and Online Listening Lounge to discover your next favorite artist! We're dedicated to presenting today's best Roots/Americana/World musicians.