If you’re looking for elegant sorrow, for compelling and gracious misery, for poetic sadness, then Jeffrey Martin is the musician you need.
Formerly a high school creative writing teacher, Martin puts his skills as a storyteller to very good use on One Go Around. Not surprisingly, given that history, each of his songs uses deliberate and very careful language. And those carefully constructed sentences and carefully chosen words create characters that are so alive that it’s almost jarring when one song/story ends and another begins.
There’s the woman he can’t forget no matter how hard he tries (“Long Gone Now”), the father who’s devastated and angry by what his son has experienced (“What We’re Marching Toward”), and the mother unable to change, no matter how hard she tries (“October Dark”). My favorite is the heart-rending opening track, an ode to a parent’s devotion to a child, “Poor Man.”
With recurring images of smoking, drinking, lost dreams, and repeated failures, these songs are not uplifting. They are not cheerful. They are dark and sad and real. And that – that realness – that’s what’ll make you want to listen to the next story. And the next. And the next.