JPR Live Session: Jeffrey Martin & Mick Flannery

Feb 22, 2019

As a babe Jeffrey Martin sought out solitude as often as he could find it. He's always been that way, and he has never understood the whole phenomenon of smiling in pictures, although he is a very happy guy. One night in middle school he stayed up under the covers with a flashlight and a DiscMan, listening to Reba McEntire's 'That's the Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia' on repeat until the DiscMan ran out of batteries.

That was the night Jeffrey Martin became a songwriter, although he didn't actually write a song until years later. After high school he spent a few years distracting himself from having to gather up the courage to do what he knew he had to do.

Eventually he found his way to a writing degree, and then a teaching degree. He wrote most days like his life depended on it, all sorts of things, not just songs, but songs too. He fell in love with teaching high school English, which was fantastic because he never thought he'd actually come to truly love it. His students were fierce and unstoppable forces of noise and curiosity, and for all that they took from him in sleep and sense, they gave him a hundred times back in sparks and humility. All the while he was also playing truckloads of music. There was one weekend where he flew to LA while grading essays on the plane, played two shows, and then flew back home, still grading essays, and woke up to teach at 5 am on Monday morning. It was around this time he started wondering if such a life was sustainable.

Alas, music, the tour life, was a constant raccoon scratching at the back door. Jeffrey spent nights on end sitting up in bed, and then sitting on the front porch, staring off into the dark, wondering if he could bear to leave teaching to go on tour full time. Eventually his brain caught up with what his guts had known for months. With tears in his eyes he announced to his students that he wouldn't be back the following year, and that he didn't feel right hollering at them to chase their dreams at all cost if he wasn't going to do the same.

Jeffrey Martin tours full time now. He is always making music, and he is always coming through your town. He misses teaching like you might miss a good old friend who you know you'll meet again. One Go Around, out in October 2017, is his 3rd full length album. He currently lives in Portland.

Mick Flannery is widely regarded as one of the finest singer-songwriters to come out of Ireland in recent years. An award winning- double platinum selling artist, Mick has released five albums to date – including two number ones and received widespread airplay. He became the first Irish musician to ever win awards at the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, aged 19. His critically acclaimed live performances have seen him sell out shows in Ireland’s Olympia Theatre and Cork Opera House.

Mick first picked up a guitar at age of 14 under the musical influence of his mother’s family in their old farmhouse in Blarney, Co. Cork where he grew up listening to Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, and Jim Croce. Mick wrote songs throughout his teens, while training as a stonemason, which culminated in him signing to a major label at just 21 and releasing his first album Evening Train.

Mick’s most recent albums were written in Berlin, a move Mick himself refers to as “self-imposed exile”. His current album I Own You, sees Mick deal with broader issues than previous work including themes of social injustice and inequality. Mick currently lives in County Clare, Ireland where he is working on his sixth studio album.