Friday, December 28, 2012

Where the Buffalo Roam: the musical genius of Aaron Lee Martin

Hailing from America’s heartland, singer/songsmith/superhero Aaron Lee Martin has an indomitable passion for music. Whether he’s onstage playing for packed house or in a tour-van sharing new material with a couple adoring fans, he exhibits the same raw emotionalism and devotion to his craft. Freighted with country/folk arrangements and heartrending balladry, Aaron’s music builds on—not belabors—familiar American themes. With matchless vocals and poignant lyrics, he delivers love & loss, life & death, in equal doses, while sidestepping sentimentality—and managing to have fun in the process (Kansans are a rowdy bunch!). Though he’s toured extensively (playing festivals, barrooms, and coffee shops across the country), Aaron rarely turns down an opportunity to play—not because he’s desperate, but because he desperately loves what he does. Already he’s got two full-lengths and a Christmas album under his belt (preview/purchase here), but whether you’re a longtime fan or a new convert, you can rest assured—the best is yet to come! 

Here is a sample of Aaron's solo Album available for purchase:

LWF: Little Woodland Friend
ALM: Aaron Lee Martin

LWF: How long have you been writing/playing music?

ALM: The cliche' answer...more or less my whole life, ha. I remember writing cheesy love songs when I was 8 years old. Now I just write cheesy love songs while I'm 28 years old. But I have always loved the idea of putting my thoughts to melodies and have always loved the way that words can rhythmically fit together like puzzle pieces.

I started out on the drums, but quickly realized that it was not the most conducive instrument to write songs on as a singer/songwriter, though I feel like it immensely helped me to establish a sense of rhythm. One day, I picked up my dad's acoustic guitar and started picking out London Bridges on the bottom E string and found out that playing by ear was something that came natural to me. He showed me a few chords and I just kinda taught myself from there. Fast forward through my bleached blonde teenage years of awkward music selection and fronting alternative/rapcore bands, I discovered that I really loved folk music.

I think I finally found my voice in the singer-songwriter/folk genre, not only audibly (a little less Scott Stapp and a little more Aaron Lee Martin, ha), but lyrically. Over the last 7 years, I've acquired a banjo, other various folky instruments, and somehow figured out that I can fit my foot inside a that's fun! Yeah, long answer to a short question.

LWF: Where do your songs come from? Take us through your creative process…

ALM: My songs usually come from whatever I am directly or indirectly inspired by at the time. Sometimes it's sunrise, sometimes an episode of Lost. Sometimes it's pure fiction and sometimes I'm letting myself be as vulnerable and naked as I can be, while still keeping my clothes on. 

I believe there is a song for every season, emotion, victory and failure that we have. I've found that it's the usually those things that are the hardest to face and reveal about yourself, but somehow still muster up the courage to express, that people seem to relate to the most. It allows a sense of freedom for people to accept who they are and can help us to be conscious of the fact that none of us are truly ever alone. 

As far as the process goes, there is no rhyme or reason. Songs come to me often when I'm driving or in the shower, ha. I just usually hit a point where I realize I'm going crazy because I'm not writing or playing, so I write something...and then realize I am still crazy, ha.

LWF: Who or What inspires you?

ALM: Oh, I guess I partly answered this question in the last question, ha. But as far as the "Who" goes, I'm greatly inspired by a handful of authors, namely Steinbeck, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, Thoreau, Chekhov, and Bradbury. The intellect, wit, romance, and honesty these guys bring to the table absolutely blows my mind! 

I'm also a pretty big fan of Pete Seeger. He taught me that one voice, as well as many voices united as one, can do an awful lot to stir up things and cause genuine change and compassion to occur.  

I also draw inspiration from biblical poetry (psalms, proverbs, lamentations, ecclesiastes, etc.). There are quite a few biblical references and connections that can be found throughout my music. 

Aside from those few things, I'm sure there are a million other things that inspire me, but brokenness and vulnerability will stir my soul every time!

LWF: Anything new in the works?

ALM: Yeah, I have plans for my next 3 releases, 2 eps and a full length. They are titled "Blessings and Curses" "Vanity of Vanities" and "The Garden" and they will be released in that order.

I'm actually in the process of recording "Blessings and Curses" and I'm hoping to release it by early Spring. Here soon, I'll be setting up a Kickstarter to help fund the album, so if you feel like supporting, please be on the lookout for that at
And you can actually listen to a demo of one of the songs "Moriah" at

LWF: Aside from music, how do you bide your time?

ALM: Well, when I'm home I work carpentry. Not very good at it yet, but I enjoy learning. And I just started doing yoga. Not very good at it yet, but I enjoy learning.
Ha, I also enjoy connoisseuing various things or at least pretending like I am a connoisseur. (yeah, I know connoisseuing is not a real word, but I like it!) Making up words. And traveling. But I'd say my most fulfilling times are either spent enjoying community living with trusted friends or being completely alone in nature just absorbing and living in the moment as much as I can. This last summer, I had the best of both worlds. I was housesitting with some of my closest friends on some acreage in Central KS, with rolling hills and around 10 buffalo roaming free on the property. We spent our days gardening, taking care of puppies and riding bikes down hilly dirt roads. Most nights we'd cook a family dinner and eat together. After my roommates went to bed, I'd usually stay up until 3:00am sitting out in the front yard, listening to the coyotes and watching the stars. This was a small dose of heaven for an extroverted-introvert, such as myself.

LWF: (bonus question) What is your beard made of?

ALM: The blood of 10,000 angry Irish Men; The colors of a Kansas sunset; The aroma of cloves, soured milk, tobacco and whiskey; and snakes, snails and puppy dog tails! Oh, and I have a white patch too.

Thanks Aaron for letting us feature & Interview you. We LOVE you! 

If you're interested in hearing more from Aaron check out his website

Introduction & Interview by Jesse Dunstan

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