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Making Magical Music

Our Indiegogo campaign showcased, once again, the power of grassroots efforts and word-of-mouth marketing. We've met our initial goal and because of that Indiegogo will keep the campaign active so that even more folks preorder For the Love of Western Swing, a work in progress, a labor of love.


I'm sharing some samples of the rough mixes from the album through Soundcloud link below. I believe you'll like the raw mixes but just wait until you hear the final versions as mixed by Rex Schnelle and mastered by Jerry Tubbs at Terra Nova Mastering.


As to making magical music, well, it mustn't be forced on the stage or the studio with an over-rehearsed band. You do need to start with great players playing good sounding instruments on great material, and yes, everyone should know the basic arrangements and progressions particularly in compositions with many chords, sections, rests, etc. But, after that, don't overthink it.

We've taken that approach when recording the tracks for For the Love of Western Swing. I created a road map for the players to follow, the chord chart, the arrangement, the assignment of which instrument would take the intro, the turnaround (that's the recurring hook that usually occurs after the first chorus and before the second verse), the solos etc., but after that I didn't over coach the players. With great players you don't have to.

There were some songs where I hummed a certain part to one of the lead players like the title track, "For the Love of Western Swing," but after that I let the guys take it and run with it, personalizing the line to their particular style. I'm sure there are some composers who write out every note to every part--frankly, I can't write music so that's never been a concern to me.

We recently performed "Part of the Solution," which I wrote as a song of joy and healing for our children, and afterward we all laughed when Chris and Kurt both said they couldn't wait for the album to completed so they could relearn the hooks they played in the studio. All of you who've heard us live will attest, however, that we never play any song same way twice. That said, there are some things you want to replicate on the stage each night like the intro guitar part of "You Play My Heart" (from the album by the same name) or the hook fiddle part on "The Man Who Holds the Bow" from Lone Starry Night. There are magical parts like those on this album.


Finally, we were thrilled to learn that No Depression magazine shared our Indiegogo campaign with its readers. Here's an excerpt from the article:

CROWDFUNDING RADAR: New Projects from Jesse Daniel, Shearwater, and John Arthur Martinez by Chris Griffy POSTED ON MAY 27, 2019

John Arthur Martinez – For the Love of Western Swing Former Nashville Star runner-up (he beat out Miranda Lambert before losing to Buddy Jewell) John Arthur Martinez has always been too traditional for radio airplay. But that has what has kept him popular over the years since his initial television success. Considering the title of his new album, For the Love of Western Swing, he seems fine with his traditionalist niche. For the album’s 14 songs, Martinez has assembled some of Austin’s best, including Kurt Baumer from Lonestar, Floyd Domingo, and Western Swing Society Hall of Famer William B.B. Morse. The songs range from original compositions to favorites from Bob Wills and Glen Campbell. Backer rewards for his Indiegogo campaign include a bracelet made from Martinez’s recycled guitar strings, an acoustic mix of the new album, a bag of Martinez’s own branded coffee beans, and a chance to play doubles tennis with Martinez before catching a show.

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