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Summer Music Guide: Jon Martin

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In addition to profiles in the Summer Music Issue, the Messenger presents two summertime concerts: Jon Martin at Walkabout Brewing in Medford on Saturday, July 16 and Trevor Hanks at Weekend Beer Co. in Grants Pass on Sunday, July 17.

RVM: Can you share three songs from your current playlist that you feel like “triangulate” your music style?

Jon Martin: Three Songs from my current playlist that triangulate my music style would be

Black birds from alter bridge, Can I get and outlaw From luke combs and second one to know from chris stapleton. There are so many songs that resonate with me but those were in my playlist today and all three felt like something that would go hand in hand with the music I write.

RVM: With your band Gunstock RED, you perform southern rock. What msucial elements and sensibilities does Southern Oregon share with traditional southern rock? What is uniquem or different, do you think, to Southern Oregon Rock?

JM: We play a bit of everything in Gunstock Red. The southern rock seems to flow in my veins and it jives with the area because of similar focuses. A lot of southern rock is about living the simple life, being genuine and real; appreciation for nature and the world that sustains us. That is all part of the life up here in the Pacific Northwest. A lot of the rock from the Northwest has a touch of grunge influence that seems hard to ignore. At least that’s the way I hear it.

RVM: What is different about your solo shows and when you are playing with the band?

JM: I have different goals depending on which music project I’m playing with. In Gunstock Red, our main goal is to entertain and put smiles on faces. We focus on the songs people are familiar with. It started out as a side project and we were all in other bands but its taken the forefront over the years. I’m in another band called Beyond the Tide that is 95 percent original and a lot of the songs embody the struggles in life and the shortcomings of society. I love what I get to do in both bands.

When I play by myself the music takes on an intimacy and vulnerability. My solo songs have mostly been about very personal parts of my life. Both the covers and original songs I choose for my solo sets feel important to me like a good book that everyone needs to read. I had so many songs that really only fit the solo scenario that I decided to put them in an album.

RVM: Do you remember the first song you heard that really got your blood pumping, when you first thought, “this is what I want to do”?

JM: I remember the first time I decided that I wanted to make a life out of music. I was about seven, eight years old and my parents took me to see the “Phantom of the Opera.” I had been in a boys’ choir for about a year already, and I remember the song “Past the Point of No Return,” and I was hooked. I daydreamed about being on stage and feeling the music flow out of me. As a kid it wasn’t as much about being famous or money. It was that feeling like maybe music is why I’m here.

RVM: You have been playing professionally for a while now. Is there a constant theme to your performances, something hasn’t changed since Day One?

JM: I can’t put my finger on a common theme that’s stayed with me through the years of performing. I know that without playing music, there is something important missing from my life. I’ve always become a bit unaware of my surroundings once the music starts to flow. It may be the only thing that hasn’t changed. It is hard to think of something that hasn’t changed in all the years of performing. It seems almost everything has changed. I used to be very timid on stage, and while I still get jitters, the timid part of me is not really there anymore. But the absence while performing may always be there. I used to receive regular criticism about not making eye contact with my audience and seeming disconnected. I tried to take the advice and made a conscious effort to be more present. It felt like the music began to suffer so I started wearing sunglasses at every performance and no one ever told me I was distant again.

6 pm Saturday July 16, Walkabout Brewing in Medford

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