Bryan Martin Poets & Old Souls

Bryan Martin bares his soul on new album “Poets & Old Souls”


He finds that healing comes from hurtin’


By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine



There are times when Bryan Martin would rather be “behind the curtain hurtin’” as simply a songwriter, rather than out front in the spotlight as a performer. But that’s where he stands now, and nobody can deliver his “hurtin’” songs better than he can.


Martin’s newest album, Poets & Old Souls, was released a few weeks ago by Average Joes Ent., just in time to build momentum for his appearances in Nashville during CMA Fest. There is plenty of hurt in the deeply personal songs on this album, but Martin – and the listener – find redemption in the songs. A “grey area at the end” becomes a light that shows a way out, as he explained to me when we sat down to talk during CMA Fest.


Some of Martin’s pain has been physical: broken bones from bull riding, a broken collar bone playing football that led him into a painkiller addiction in his late teens. But harder still has been what he calls “the pain inside” from which he finds relief through music.  His many fans relate to that pain and find relief and release from their own pain with the songs he sings.


Some of those songs of pain and redemption can be heard on Poets & Old Souls such as “Wolves Cry,” “He Knows The Struggle,” “Never Coming Home” and the title track.


I asked Martin if he believed his fans feel a connection to him because many of them share the same background and the same challenges as he has.


“I do,” he acknowledged. “I feel that everything relates to them because I came up working for everything I have and to this day, I still believe if I’m not putting my hands on it, I’m losing quality control!” he added with a laugh. “I’ve never quit a job. I’ve never been run off [of a job]. I’ve always worked for everything I have since I was a kid in the hayfields and everywhere.


“I’ve always been taught to be self-sufficient,” he explained. “Like right now, I’m working on my own bus motor, in the middle of the yard. I may not be the best at it, but I know how to get it done and make it work.”


However, he told me that he grew up around addiction and would put himself in bad situations. “Looking back on it now,” he said, “Those many years I held myself back by just suppressing myself because I felt I didn’t deserve anything but hurt or to feel pain.”


That hurt and pain led to a failed suicide attempt.  He wrote a suicide note, swallowed 30 Percocet tablets, then put the barrel of a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. The gun misfired, but he passed out from the effects of the Percocets.


“That put me in a dark hole and when I came out of that, I wrote my first song,” he told me. “I found my love for music again after all those years of running away from it. My mom was a singer and I really believe that the healing came from hurting. The more I hurt, the more I learned to say it in a way that there was some kind of grey area at the end of it that seemed like a light and it became more present with every song that there was a way out, even when I didn’t see it as I was writing it. The song always led me to a way out.”


His songs have certainly helped other people find their own way out of their pain. His single “We Ride” has already earned 9.1 million streams. Listening back to those early songs, he says, “Now I’m seeing there is a way out.”


Growing up, Martin listened to the songs of Merle Haggard and Vern Gosdin.  There was one Gosdin song that really meant something to him. “I learned ‘Chiseled In Stone’ and I sang that song until I felt it,” he recalled.  “My daddy would always say, ‘You’re pretty good but you ain’t no Vern!’”


Songs like “Chiseled In Stone” led the young Bryan Martin to find out who wrote these songs that struck such a chord with him.


“That’s when I started off on, ‘who wrote this song?’” he said. “That’s when I started finding love for songwriters and seeing that they went through some hard times, some tough times.  The writers were always the ones.  You’d never see them standing in the light and taking all the shine away.  They’re behind the curtain hurtin’!  I’ve always said, I wish I could hide behind the curtain and let the song do the hurtin’ but I’ve never had someone lined up to sing my songs.”


As a songwriter, he has written more than 3,000 songs, but now Bryan Martin is out front, on stage, singing his songs to an ever-growing fanbase and a full tour date calendar.


As we were wrapping up, just for fun, I asked him my favorite question. If he was given a $10,000 gift card where would he spend it?


With a big smile, he said, “Right now, I’d want that gift card to be for a local bait shop somewhere near a river and about a week to go fishing or hunting. I think that’s something I miss the most, just being able to walk out the back door and go hunting or fishing.”


He thought about that for a moment, then added, “I guess it’s a blessing to be here, doing this, but when you had a day off at a regular job, it was a day off. Nowadays, it’s… ‘What’s a day off?!’”


As Bryan Martin’s career continues on its upward path, there won’t be a lot of days off, but hopefully there will be a lot less hurtin’.


Find more about Bryant Martin at his website, on Facebook, on his YouTube channel and on Twitter (@thebryanmartin) and Instagram (@bryanmartinmusic). #BryanMartin


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Play / download / listen to Poets & Old Souls here:!aje

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