Eli Martin answered music’s call later that most. Those of us fortunate to be witnesses to his development have heard him find his voice through two records and innumerable local performances. Eli’s “Marinol Nation” is a cadre of musicians of skill who have supported him while he honed his own. What undoubtedly draws seasoned performers to the Marinol Nation stage is a quality that is meted out in large doses on the first record’s very first cut: cleverly turned phrases dripping with acerbic wit. Dark humor personified.
“Field of Dreams” will be my third record with Martin. His voice is strong; I could tell in preproduction that he had substantially strengthened it over the last two years of promotion for “Suburbia and Minivans.” Eli was keen on experimenting with his guitar sound and after some tests we hit on something special. There are several examples of artists using acoustic guitars to play through fuzzed-out electric guitar amps, immediately I think of The Breeders, Nirvana and Cake. The strange marriage of his Carter acoustic guitars and Home Wrecker electric guitar amps suit his jagged percussive strumming perfectly. These instruments also happen to be locally hand crafted. The conduit between these two flavors is an old acoustic pick-up I bought for sixty dollars in the 90’s. What’s wonderful about the Sarnia Downtown is that boutique and junk shop are retail concepts that stand side by side without irony or prejudice. Let the music celebrate the locale.
Unlike Marinol Nation’s previous releases, I gently pushed aside the idea of bringing anyone in to play on this record until we had optimized our core. B Frase and Brian Cox play bass and drums respectively in addition to Martin’s voice and guitar. Brian played a lot of the drums on ”Lipstick on a Pig” and B has been playing lead guitar at shows with Martin for quite a while. This trio is bringing something fresh to the table; we’re hearing the songs with a striking basic structure before any invitations get sent out to Marinol Nation’s talented extended family.
I’m happy with the situation. I feel like I’m mixing and tracking better than ever, Martin’s got his usual big bag of interesting song stories and we have a lot of mutual musical friends we can bring in to finish the project. What excites me most on this third record is that we’re truly building it around Martin’s sound, one that’s been honed over years of hard work.
Later in life Eli Martin answered music’s siren song and now he can’t stop. Youth culture can be so boring and Eli makes the case that experience counts with his strength and cutting poetry. He’s lived more than most people I’ve met and as a consequence actually has something to say. What a rare thing.