Somewhere You'd Rather Be, released on January 25th, 2014 from Ohio born singer/songwriter Cody J. Martin, began as a collaboration between himself and 23 year old audio engineer John Finley. The artist and future college professor connected during Open Mic's in Canton, Ohio, leading Finley to suggest that the two should record together. What started as a few hours of work evolved over the span of 2 years into a debut showcase from the 21 year old artist.
Combining an array of musical influences ranging from Elliott Smith to Tom Waits and leaning on the sincerity of timeless folk collections such as Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Martin sought out to form an original style with a new energy and dedication to wistful and clear lyricism. In an attempt to give the audience a genuine "what you hear is what you get," Martin created an album that could be an extension of a live performance. If an audience member were to enjoy what they heard at a show, the album would be able to bring that experience home with them.
The album's production creates a patina of distinction between a live take and studio clarity, with recording locations steeped in personal history; generations old kitchens, attics, and bedrooms dusty from long vacancy. Recording and mixing were a team effort from Martin and Finley, and the final touches were applied in Arizona by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering. The completed result, Somewhere You'd Rather Be, forms a crisp and country coalescence.
Emerging from the confluence of Martin's inspirations, the listener will be brought through a mixture of song structures and styles that will captivate and intrigue. At times quiet and sparing, at times scaldingly energetic, instrumentation varies from string scorching acoustic tracks to enigmatic, atmosphere enhanced layering. Martin utilizes his ramshackle guitar style against a backdrop of natural room noise, while quiet music boxes and whispered voices refract throughout. Thematically evolving from the first track, we find determination, debonair and unrepentance, to ominous and foreboding scenes uncomfortably clear in the minds eye. Discoursing with Martin on the soundscapes and lyrical tonalities of the record, one finds a short story behind every track;
"A girl I was once involved with had this tattoo that read 'Imperfection is Beauty.' Though the girl herself has faded from my memory, her tattoo has always stuck with me. The simple contradiction of it was a companion through the making of this record. And I think that if it's true, then I have succeeded in making something beautiful."
Somewhere You'd Rather Be is a walk through the trampled down grass and graveyard remains of a carnival that disappeared overnight. It feels only moments ago that you were walking among the tents and colored bulbs flashing in accidental tandem, witnessing the abstract variety of vaudeville. Sounds both sharp and subtle stream over, coming from loudspeakers, from a calliope worn down. Sunlight fades and a glow can be seen from far off, only refinery smokestacks dotting the outskirt highways distract from the carnivals luminescence. Music erupting from the memory of the day persists. Somewhere You'd Rather Be remembers what we look back on fondly, when we see the changes that arise from moments we wish we would have recognized as beautiful simplicity.
-Dean Torcasio, 2013
1. Turn the Darkness On
2. All Roads Lead to War
3. Lies for the Precious Kind
4. Hard Blues
5. What's Already Gone
6. No Shadows
7. To Be a Balloon
8. Glass On the Wind
10. Tomorrow Is a Brand New Day
11. Without You Now
12. Somewhere You'd Rather Be
All songs written and performed by Cody J. Martin
Recorded and Mixed by John Finley
Mastered by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering in Phoenix, AZ
Album photography by Jeremy Aronhalt
Design by Kevin Deems
Copyright 2013 Cody J. Martin Music (BMI)