With his tellingly titled sophomore set, this young up-and-comer pays reverence to his roots.
1. 'Never Coming Home'
2. 'We Ride'
3. 'Poets & Old Souls' (feat. Frank Foster)
4. 'Things You Didn’t Make Time For'
5. 'Another Honky Tonk'
6. 'He Knows The Struggle'
7. 'Wolves Cry'
8. 'We Ride' (Acoustic Version)
9. 'Wolves Cry' (Acoustic Version)
It’s clear, even at the outset, that Bryan Martin doesn’t take his past for granted.
‘Never Coming Home’, the first track on his aptly dubbed sophomore set, Poets & Old Souls, summons up the spirit of his grandad and a rugged regimen that was instilled in him early on. An outlaw of sorts himself, Martin conveys a restless spirit throughout.
Written and sung mostly from a first-person perspective, the songs are flush with grit, defiance, drive and determination. ‘I’ve been known to write a few songs, loving and leaving, getting too stoned’ he sings on ‘We Ride,’ before going on to list an assortment of other vices and virtues that provide inspiration.
Despite his unapologetic attitude, Martin makes it clear he takes the lessons he’s learned to heart. ‘Things You Didn’t Make Time For’ conveys the notion that time is a precious commodity, and one that ought not be wasted on frivolous pursuits.
So too, the plaintive ballad ‘Another Honky Tonk,’ laments the trials and tribulations that accompany a life spent in pursuit of just another gig. Given Martin’s working-class background and his mother’s show biz experience singing back-up for stars such as Allison Krauss, he has plenty of experience to draw from. That empathetic view shines through on the bittersweet ballad ‘He Knows the Struggle,’ a lament for the Everyman whose goal is simply to survive.
Martin also shines a light on his Native American heritage courtesy of ‘Wolves Cry,’ which, like the aforementioned ‘We Ride,’ is completed by both electric and acoustic arrangements. Here again, he doesn’t hesitate to bare his sentiment and shortcomings with both honesty and intent.
Then again, he named his first album Self Inflicted Scars, a title that gave an early indication of his desire to lay things on the line, even when delving into realms of clear confession. You can credit these early initiatives with evidence of credence, courage and conviction.
That said, it remains to be seen how Martin’s career will evolve from this point forward. Will he continue to share autobiographical anecdotes or opt to pursue other avenues as a further means of creating a connection?
For now anyway, he’s established his stance, proving that a poet and an old soul can be harbored within one individual.
Bryan Martin's 2023 album, Poets & Old Souls, is released March 31st via Average Joes Entertainment.
For more reviews and release dates for country music albums in 2023, see below: