by: Thomas D. Mooney
Often when you hear a musician, you hear subtleties (and sometimes straight up rip-offs) in a song that will remind you of another musician who had an influence on that band, song, album, and/or person. That shouldn’t be a surprise. We recently asked Dave Martinez for a short list of musicians who have had an impact on him, his writing, and music.
In addition, we asked to give us the ever so broad question, why? Why these bands? Why these songs? Why?
Martinez dives into these songs and tells us all what are his favorites, his first memories, what he thinks about when hearing particular songs, his recollections of live performances, and why these few have an impact on him. I could ramble on and on. but that would be pointless. I’ll just let Martinez do the talking from here on out.
Dave Martinez will be next playing J&B Coffee this Friday. For more details, click here. Listen to “Chasing Wind” by Dave Martinez below.
Leon Russell- “A Song for You,” “Out in the Woods”
I try not to follow a specific formula, which I may or may not accomplish every time, and I always thought that Leon Russell was great because he blended and fused genres and it never had a bad sound. His songs are eclectic and don’t follow a particular formula, from a beautiful piano intro and ballad like “A Song for You” to the swampy pop feel of “Out in the Woods” his ability to jump from sound to sound is what makes him so good.
Kris Kristofferson- “A Moment of Forever,” “Help Me Make it Through the Night”
Any time you love a song for the song, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the voice singing it is. Almost all of Kris Kristofferson’s songs fall in the category for me. “A Moment of Forever” especially. Every time I hear that song, I just realize that you don’t have to be complicated or have the best voice around, and that a good song stands on its own. Anytime I think about songwriting, I’m always reminded of that fact and I have Mr. Kristofferson to thank for that.
Tom Waits- “Ol’ 55,” “Bad as Me”
When anyone asks me for something new to listen to, I almost always suggest one of these two songs. I always thought that Tom Waits sort of personified his songs. He has this raspy, almost desperate voice. I think both “Ol’ 55” and “Bad as Me” a great examples of that, even though they were released over 30 years apart, you can get the impression that he is writing about his personal life. The sound, lyrics, and creativity in both these songs make them two of my all-time favorites.
James Taylor- “Fire and Rain,” “Sweet Baby James”
I have my uncle to thank for helping me discover James Taylor. He had a huge record collection, and my cousin and I would dig through and just play random records. I remember the first time I heard “Sweet Baby James.” I was about nine or 10 and it blew me away. I think my first thought was, “I need to learn to play a guitar if only for this song.” Then, it happened again as soon as I heard “Fire and Rain”. I never learned either song. I always thought that if I learned to play them, some of the mystique and mystery behind my love for them would go away, and I don’t want to take that chance.
David Ramirez- “Wandering Man,” “Argue With Heaven”
The first time I saw David Ramirez, I didn’t know what to expect. I had a few friends that promised I would like him. From the very first song, I was immediately agreeing with them. He conveys his emotions so well and is so passionate with what he’s singing, and all this for a room of mostly strangers. If I could take one thing from his live shows is that it’s possible to pour emotion into a song and have people feel that with just you and a guitar. I see him every time I get a chance and have forced friends to come along with the same promise of them liking it, and he never disappoints. He is such a friendly guy and always says hi and is appreciative of your time spent listening. I would recommend anyone to catch him live.