A long time ago in a galaxy far far away the inhabitants of this small globe had but a handful of Guitar Gods to worship at the altar of the Twirling Victrola.
There was Jimmy Hendrix – the Dark God, Eric Clapton – the God of Nimble Fingers, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page – the airborne gods, protectors of Yardbirds and Zeppelins … then the Mighty Tribe of Progressive Rock Guitarists descended from Mount Olympus … Steve Howe, Peter Banks, Robert Fripp, Steve Hackett, and Jan Akkerman.
By the decade of the 80s’ the Altar of The Twirling Victrola crumbled into ancient ruins. Needles were replaced by lasers.
The sky open up and across this tiny globe a torrent of ultra-talented guitar gods and heroes rained down upon the earth.
And it was from this torrential downpour that Mike Martin came to take his place among contemporaries like Joe Satriani, Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine, and Progressive Metal guitarists from groups like Dream Theater, Angra, and Symphony X.
Mike Martin is an accomplished guitarist with impressive credentials and a background in classical, metal, jazz, folk, rock, and World Music.
His formal musical training actual began at the age of four, learning to play violin … by nine he was playing piano … then eventually settling on guitar as his instrument of choice in 1985 after unwrapping the six string Christmas present.
Mike was performing in the school choir and playing violin recitals during elementary school but got his first paying gig as guitarist for a contemporary Christian folk group, before moving on to form a rock group at the age of 15. The group performed throughout New Hampshire .
After years of studying and learning his craft from a number of local guitar heroes, music store lessons, and The Concord Community Music School in Concord New Hampshire , he eventually enrolled in College where he studied Music Theory and Composition with Dr. David Maves, ASCAP Composer of the Year in 1995.
Soon after completing the course he moved to Atlanta where he became a guitarist for hire in the Atlanta Blues Scene. He performed with Nuevo Gypsy (a flamenco duo) which expanded his repertoire, then moved on to write and perform with the group The Hybrids in 2000.
In the summer of 2004 he joined FOZZY on a world tour to support the “All That Remains” album; appearing in Australia , Europe , USA , Canada , and the UK .
Mike Martin has gone on to perform with a number of artists and groups; opened for Motorhead, The Radiators, and Rusted Root; and appeared at a number of festivals and shows.
Bringing us to his first solo album, “2 Of 5”. The title of the album was inspired by ‘7 Of 9’, the curvaceous Borg of Star Trek Next Generation – applying a sequence of number to himself, identifying him as the 2nd of five children.
‘2 Of 5’ is an impressive collection of hard driving instrumental rockers fueled on by warp speed riffs and fretwork gymnastics. And Martin balances showmanship and his mastery of the instrument with the talent of a tunesmith and ear of an arranger. His dancing fingers augment the catchy melodies rather than smother the compositions with flashy fretwork and as many notes as he could possible fit within a measure.
If the fingers are fast but the tunes aren’t good it’s little more than an ego trip and an exercise in dexterity – and as boring for the listener as a 20 minute drum solo in the tune “Wipe-Out”.
Mike Martin’s ‘2 Of 5’ on the other hand is a perfect example of what an instrumental guitar driven album should be ... intricate, intense, intelligent, and interesting.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on April 29th, 2007