From the first track, “Poor Man,” of Jeffrey Martin’s third full-length album, One Go Around, it is evident that each of the twelve tracks come from a place of deep respect and understanding. The album explores feelings of extreme heartache, despair, and confusion. Intertwined with his raw, melancholic vocals, it is a haunting step into the darker, but the realistic side of Americana music.
While Martin’s music has always rooted itself in dissecting the realm of human emotions, One Go Around marks his commitment to music– the Portland, OR based singer-songwriter had previously balanced a career as a high school creative writing teacher, along with his burgeoning music path. Now that he is a full time musician, it shows, his music reaching a new level of understanding. Moreover, he has taken the stories learned during his time as a teacher, and transferred that pain and suffering experienced by those he encountered, and reflected it into his songwriting. The songs on One Go Around are Martin’s way of giving back, telling stories for those who do not have the platform he has worked for. On Americana ballad “What We’re Marching Toward,” Martin demonstrates his ability to take a country’s fear and transform it into a fresh approach to strife and despair– this is his Pete Seeger moment, fueling us to stand up and march towards what is fair, and right.
Taking cues and influence from other folk singer-songwriters, Martin’s lyrics are heartbreaking but necessary, similar to those of Bahamas and Ray LaMontagne. Additionally, chord changes hit the listener in a place they’d rather hide, provoking the deepest emotions of sadness, but also love. The album’s feeling boils down perfectly in the elegant “Thrift Store Dress,” particularly when Martin sings, “Let that old time music burn a hole in my chest.” Anna Tivel’s violin adds a layer of melancholia, reminiscent of pure Appalachian tunes.
“One Go Around” is available now through Fluff & Gravy Records. You can keep up with Jeffrey Martin here.