Martin Farrell Jr.
Martin Farrell Jr. is a Minnesota-born songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer intent on discovering new ways of playing old musical styles. His talent began to show in early childhood and one year as the family sat down to enjoy the World Series on television, they turned to watch their five year old walk over to the piano and work out the National Anthem by ear. Soon they found him an excellent teacher and after several years of taking piano lessons, playing classical pieces and studying theory, he bought a guitar and started teaching himself how to play. Martin quickly developed a deep appreciation for the music of Frank Zappa and sought out to discover the inner workings of Zappa's extremely difficult compositions.
After moving to Lawrence, KS in 2005 he began playing banjo, bass, piano and guitar in local bluegrass and rock groups, eventually fronting his own six piece progressive bluegrass band with drums called Dr. Cotton. It was around this time that Farrell started offering his services as a sideman and joined KC based bluegrass group Kansas City Hustle on banjo as well as playing Telecaster in the Beerbellies - a honky tonk band put together by Lawrence fiddling legend and Kansas Music Hall of Fame member, Billy Spears. It was through the lens of the 1970's revival and reinvention of Country & Bluegrass music that he would discover the true greats of the genres and find their roots. Artists like Gram Parsons, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Danny Barnes and Tony Rice shifted his interest towards monumental figures such as Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams Sr., Merle Haggard, Clarence White, Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, Speedy West, Bill Monroe, and blues great Roy Buchanan. In response to these staggering discoveries, Farrell began to pursue a sound he called "Cosmic Western" - a genre which possesses a classic country sound, bluegrass techniques, gospel harmonies and rock rhythms.
During 2015, he started recording his debut release entitled "Tales from the Outer Country" - a 14 track album produced and recorded entirely by Martin in his home studio. The record shows the potential Farrell has as a writer and arranger, featuring wondrous displays of musicianship, melody, harmony and dedication to the music he makes.
"Being able to produce records on my own without input from others has allowed me to create music unaffected by outside influence and provide a virtually limitless musical environment where I am the boss." - Martin Farrell Jr.
After meeting Kansas City based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jenna Rae, the two began writing music together and worked in a six piece country band called Playing for Horses. The couple started performing as a "cosmic western duo" called Jenna & Martin and continued to make themselves known in the local scene. In 2017, they started a record label called Lost Cowgirl Records with the mission to support female songwriters within the category of Americana and roots music. Farrell went on to produce Jenna Rae's debut record "Workin' Woman" in 2018, playing guitar, pedal steel, banjo, piano, mandolin, harmonica, bass, drums and percussion on the album. During the 2018 holiday season, they released their first EP and accompanying short film called "Gingerbread". They tour throughout the US as a duo in a remodeled school bus with their standard poodle Roy, but will often play with a drummer and bassist for larger shows. The debut Jenna & Martin album is set for release in November 2019.
Martin spent around a year playing pedal steel and dobro in the Amarugia Ridge Runners, a young honky tonk group he met while living in his bus on a farm in Peculiar, MO. He also works as a session musician, graphic designer, producer and recording engineer in the Kansas City area. The second Martin Farrell Jr. album contains 10 brand new original songs with a meaningful message. He recently released the first single to his upcoming album entitled “Horses”.