Back in Steelers Country

10152036_10202266697289453_2543537956831787060_nSo its been six weeks since I’ve blogged. I’ve had a number of people ask”, What happened…….your sites been stuck on “Memorial Day” for weeks…?”. Well I got so busy down south helping Uncle Jay with a couple of projects, and helping my folks with their house it turned into a 7 day a week ordeal for the last 7 weeks. And it was all I could do to keep up and everything else had to take a back seat.

I am back in Steelers country and am in the process of catching up. It’s gonna take a week or two so thanks for your patience as I get things back on track. I have been here four days and have already played three gigs with Gashouse Annie and Kenny Blake. I played Saturday night the Fourth at The Lost Mountain Campground with Gashouse Annie and had a wonderful time. Met a lot of people and made some new friends. Looking forward to more of that.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be out and about so if you’re in the Pitsburgh, Greensburg area maybe I’ll see you soon. I plan on being at Speal’s Tavern later in the week and if you are in the area and know of any open mic’s or jams….let me know.

Alright that’s all I have right now. I hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend. Have a good week and I’ll see you next week.Video 3 0 01 51-16

Thanks for supporting me on My Blues Americana Journey!



The King is gone……….

0515151251aThe sky started to cry as I looked at the text message my Dad had just sent,”BB King has died in his sleep at age 89.” I just felt numb. I knew it was coming but it didn’t help. Just sad. We lost a great man. A great Blues Man. One of the best guitar players I’ve ever heard. And one hell of an entertainer. I can’t imagine how Lucille feels right now. She’s been by his side for a long long time and now he’s gone…..

downloadI can’t remember when I first became acquainted with BB King’s music but I suspect it was through Eric Clapton. I discovered The Blues through Eric Clapton, chasing the roots of the music he was playing. I was heavily influenced by Eric Clapton as a young wannabe guitar player. I was heavily influenced by BB King as well. The raw emotion that that man could pour into one note was always something that amazed me. Every time I heard  BB King grab a note, shake it with that vibrato and pour his heart and soul into it, it would give me goosebumps.

bbkingbusMy Dad took me to see BB King at The Great Southern Music Hall in downtown Orlando, Florida in the early 80’s. What a show! There had to be 20 musicians behind BB in a semi circle. Back up singers, Horn players all moving and groovin to the King and Lucille’s Blues and Boogie. It was a raw emotionally energized performance and something I will never forget. I have been so influenced by the way BB played guitar. No frills. Just pure raw emotion. I consciously attempt to emulate BB every time I play a solo. Trying to grab that one note and shake it with just the right amount of emotion to convey what I’m feeling. Pure BB King.

images (1)BB King was playing a dance in Arkansas in 1949 when two men got into a fight. They knocked over the burn barrel used to heat the place and the place caught fire. Everyone ran out and when he got outside BB King realized he’d left his guitar and ran back inside to rescue her. He later found out those two men had died in the fire, and they had been fighting over a woman named Lucille. He decided to name his guitar “Lucille” to remind him not to ever do anything foolish like fight over a woman or run into burning buildings.

1019141214I name all my guitars. Every single one of them. A friend asked me a while back,” Why do you name your guitars and are all your guitars female?”. I name my guitars because of BB King and Lucille. It’s just something I was driven to do after I found out about the story of Lucille. All my guitars are female, well at least they have female names except for one. My 1969 Les Paul Gold Top, aka “Sir Paul”. I wrote about my resonator “Baby” and how I got her from my buddy Hambone in my blog post “Hambone & Baby”.

The King is gone, The King has gone away.

The King is gone, The King has gone away.

But his legacy will live on, each and every day.

My guitars have been silent since the news about The King.

Out of respect for one of the greatest Bluesmen and guitar players the world has ever seen.

Out of respect for The King Of The Blues.

Every time I play a solo I will shake it with all the raw emotion I can muster and think of you.

Whenever I get a guitar I will name her just as you did your “Lucille”.

Rest In Peace Mr. King and thank you for sharing your music with us and inspiring so many guitar players like myself.

Bobby Guitar Martin

Going Home, No Frills, & Los Tres Amigos…………………..

In the last several months I’ve been reunited with a lot of friends from my past lives. I say past lives because I feel like I’ve lived a lot of lives in this lifetime so far. But being a gypsy I guess that’s to be expected when you move every couple of years. This past week Uncle Jay and I helped another friend of ours make the move from his apartment in the city to his new condo on the beach. It turned out to be a journey unto itself.

I went to Uncle Jay’s first thing in the morning and we hooked up the trailer to the van, finished our coffee, and headed down the road to Brother Gary’s apartment in the city. Gary was waiting for us outside and showed us where to park the trailer and van. Then we went up three flights of stairs to admire all the heavy furniture that he needed to get down those three flights of stairs and into the van and trailer. While we ate donuts and drank more coffee with Bailey’s we discussed the evacuation plan.

We finally got everything moved down to the van and trailer after God knows how many trips up and down the stairs, and headed down the highway for the coast. Almost there we had to pull over for a little while and let the van cool down, a little overheating trouble. We finally arrived at Brother Gary’s new condo on the beach and proceeded to unload everything. We were able to use the elevator to the second floor so it was much better than the previous three flights of stairs evacuation from the apartment. The couch though, had to be lifted up over the balcony with help from a rope and several neighbors onto the second floor. Ta-da! All done!

Brother Gary insisted that we hang around and let him buy us dinner. No objections here! We went to dinner at a restaurant right on the beach with Gary, his folks, Uncle Jay, and I. Gary started buying us beers before we even ordered dinner. Dinner was awesome as was the company. Bob Marley was playing on the jukebox and I remarked”, Man do I feel like I’ve gone home……..Cool ocean breeze, lifelong friends, cold beer, and Bob Marley……it just doesn’t get much better than this.” I used to live on the coast before the perfect storm(Read more about that storm here) and didn’t realize how much I’d missed it. I truly felt like I had indeed gone back home. I was so overwhelmed by that feeling I got a little emotional. Priceless. One of those moments you file away to never forget.

They say you can’t go back home. It’s partly true. Places change for the most part as do people. But some things never change. Old friends, Bob Marley, and the coast are home to me….wherever that may be. Uncle Jay, Brother Gary, and I have lived several different lives but we share a common bond from the life we used to live together and the journey we three amigos are now on.  And that’s it…..No frills, no fancy pics, no fancy digs….Just going home with Los Tres Amigos and feeling really really good about life for a change.

Life is good.

Thanks for supporting me on My Blues Americana Journey!



Winter Harbor and The Open Sea

Winter HarborTown Wharf Lead .jpgIn last weeks blog post “Florida Crackers, Blues & BBQ” I talked about my Florida, Blues & BBQ Roots. In the blog post “The Journey So Far” I briefly talked about Winter Harbor and “The Open Sea”. Yesterday one of my cousins posted a pic of The Winter Harbor Co-op and I commented that “It made me homesick……”, to which she replied “Hey Bobby, post “our” town song.” She is referring to a song and video I made six years ago called “Winter Harbor” from “The Open Sea” CD and it got me to thinking about my Maine roots.

Winter Harbor 0 00 06-16Winter Harbor is a little Lobster fishing village on the northern coast of Maine. I grew up there, or at least that’s where I spent the most time as a child. Dad was out to sea a lot and I lived with my Mom at her folk’s house in Gerrishville just outside of Winter Harbor. I have always and still do think of Winter Harbor as my home, even though I don’t live there. I always wanted to live there and I would love to own a studio there. It would be perfect. For me it has the best of both worlds. I love the coast and I love the mountains and they meet there in Maine. I am way overdue for a visit, in fact I think I need to make it an annual trip.

5 & 10 0 00 05-09I have such fond memories of my family and the times I have spent there. I used to go out to my Grandfather’s workshop in the garage just to hang out when nobody was home. I used to love the smells out there. Sawdust, grease and cigarettes. I used to climb the tall pine tree outside the garage all the way to the top. Admiring the view as the tree swayed in the breeze. Breathtaking. I loved the smell of the salt air. My cousins and I would always be exploring in the woods and around town. We found an abandoned school bus behind the house in the woods and used to hang out there. Picking blueberries for Gram to make muffins and pies with. Riding our bikes downtown to the Soda shop and the Five & Dime. All these things inspired the song and the lyrics for “Winter Harbor”.

rg_snoopyThis is where I first discovered music by way of HeeHaw and the country music that my grandparents would play around the house. My Uncle bought me a 45 of “Snoopy vs.The Red Baron” by The Royal Guardsmen. I loved that song and pretty much wore out that 45. As a teen I used to buy 45’s at The Five & Dime. Grampie and I found a used guitar somewhere(I don’t remember exactly where)DSC_9702a1800 and he  and I stripped it and repainted it. Then I would sit in the garage and play it through my Kustom amp as loud as I wanted. I don’t know whatever happened to that guitar but it was a copy of a Gibson Sg we painted metallic blue.

IMG_4278.1jpgIn January of 2009 I ran across The RPM Challenge. It’s a challenge to write and record an album’s worth of material in the 28 days of February. There are no prizes, just the satisfaction of knowing you did it. They make a big deal out of it with a countdown clock, listening parties, and rotation of airplay on their site. I decided that I was going to take on the challenge. Lightnin’ Red was laid up for the month and I had nothing else to do but stare at the snow. ASo I made sure my little home studio was ready and decided to write a collection of nautical themed songs written on Baby(Read about Baby in the blog post “Hambone & Baby”) tuned to Open C. I would call it “The Open Sea”. And 28 days later at the end of February I finished the challenge and “The Open Sea” CD.

That summer I went to Winter Harbor to visit and filmed footage I used to make the “Winter Harbor” video. I had a lot of fun making the video and whenever I get homesick I watch it. I recently watched a video my folks had when we were there about 20 years ago. It sure made me miss my Maine family, Winter Harbor, and the times I’ve had there. Over the last couple of months I have had the opportunity to go home to several different periods and places in my past. I’m going to find a way to round that out with a trip back home to Winter Harbor this summer. I don’t know how yet, but as I write this I feel very determined to find a way to get back to my Winter Harbor roots again.

You can download The Open Sea CD here:

There are a limited number of physical CD’s available @ CD Baby & Amazon here:

Buy From CD Baby

Buy From Amazon

Thanks for supporting me on My Blues Americana Journey!



Florida Crackers, Blues & BBQ

BBQ Cover 3In last week’s Blog Post “Hambone & Baby” I told the story Of Hambone (A true Florida Cracker) and how I acquired his Baby. In the Blog Post “The Journey So Far….” I touched briefly on my Florida roots. Over the last six weeks I have reunited with 16 people from different places and times in my past. I have basically relived my whole life in the last couple of months. Yesterday I got reunited with an old Florida buddy and it got me thinking about my roots, specifically my Florida, Blues and BBQ roots.

Bobby with Guitar 1980I arrived in Florida fresh out of high school. At that time it was cattle ranches, orange groves, and fish camps where my folks had settled. My first real job was with a construction company who were building greenhouses on a farm. I got to know the manager of the farm and one of his employees named Ronnie real well. I stayed on at the farm after the construction was done and Ronnie and I became good friends. 0410150930aWe worked together and played guitar most evenings after work. In fact we would jam for hours on end out there on the farm, cranking our amps for the gators and the hogs. There was nobody else around back then, we were truly in the country, and could play as loud as we wanted.

Country BobbyA lot of my new Cracker friends were musicians and I started playing in local Country and Southern Rock bands with them. I would try to sneak blues licks in every country song we did, especially if I could play slide on it. Ronnie had been checking out my website since we’d been talking and told me he was surprised to see that I was playing Blues. Which in turn surprised me. I was always a rocker but deep down I’ve always loved the blues. 610fbpTMCWLAnd the events of the last several years have certainly inspired me to play the blues. I guess I was a closet Bluesman back in the day. I first came across the blues through Eric Clapton and Duane Allman. Their acoustic version of “Mean Old World” grabbed me as a teen and I’ve always loved the raw Delta Blues sound of a resonator guitar and a slide.

BBQ_9We played a lot of BBQ’s and private parties back then and ate some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had. Real BBQ. Not the stuff they sell in the restaurant chains that promise real BBQ with lots of fake smoke flavor poured in. I’m talking about real BBQ by Florida Crackers out in the country fired with Oak and Orange wood. Chicken, Pulled Pork, Turkey, Whole Hams, Whole Hog, Brisket, Ribs, Gator, and I’ve even had Shark. I’ve been around the world and there is no better BBQ than I’ve had in Florida.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of eating some of that delicious Florida BBQ again when I went to visit my old friend Ronnie and his family out in the country. It was the best BBQ I’ve had in a long, long time. We spent the day reminiscing about our days jamming out on the farm, and talking about Blues & BBQ. Not only is Ronnie a True Florida Cracker, 0418151438he is also a Competition BBQ Pit-master, BBQ engineer and builder. I know you think you just throw some wood in one barrel connected to a bigger barrel and smoke away. Not so, there is a science to engineering and building BBQ pits, and Ronnie and I spent a lot of time talking about the science of it all.

So yesterday as I sat down with a family of Real Florida Crackers, reminisced about Real Good Times, ate Real Good BBQ, and played some Blues, I felt like I’d truly gone back home again. Time stood still for a day deep in Florida Cracker country and I felt like I’d never left. Took me back to a time when life was simple and good. Back to a time when good friends, good BBQ, and a guitar in my hands underneath the shade of an old Oak tree in Florida was all I needed.

Thank you Ronnie, Rhonda, Steve, Tiana, and the rest of their family for a truly wonderful day.

God bless y’all!

Thanks for supporting me on My Blues Americana Journey!



Hambone & Baby

This here’s the true story of Hambone’s Baby and how she came to be mine.

IMG_6203Once upon a time in a beach house far away from today, I got a call from my buddy Hambone who happens to be one bad hamma-jamma (Harmonica player extraordinaire). Hambone and I would get together whenever we could to cool some brews, fire up some BBQ, and play blues til the moon made way for the sun. We hadn’t been getting together as much as we used to since I’d made the move to the coast, so it was always a treat when Hambone would come to visit. And this time he had something he wanted to show me. I assured him I was going to be home and he should come right away. I can’t stand suspense and Hambone was being extremely cryptic about whatever it was he wanted to show me. He said “Perfect, I’ll see you in a couple of hours.” Waiting……waiting…..waiting……

imagesI finally heard Hambone’s old Ford truck coming up the street and went outside to greet him. Hambone is a big ole southern boy with a big boomin voice. “BOBBY!” he’s yelling before he even gets in the driveway. “HAMBONE!” I yell back as he pulls in. Hambone jumped out of the truck  and gave me a big ole bear hug and said ,”Man have I got something to show you!” He grabbed a guitar case out of the truck and we headed inside. Being the Southern Gentleman that I am, I wait until a couple of beers have been had and gossip has been caught up on before I mention the guitar case. “Oh yeah..”, he says,” Now, you’re gonna love this” as he reaches for the guitar case. As he opens it up he starts to explain how he got “Baby” in a trade for some sunshine moonshine (Florida home brewed liquor for the uninitiated). “I thought of you when I saw her”, he says as he pulls out the most beautiful resonator guitar I ever laid eyes on. He grins from ear to ear as he hands “Baby” to me and says, “Go on, play her.”

mhRaXsd6Vr9zoKs-fuFWOFgI was in love right away. I always wanted a resonator and she was perfect. I grabbed my moonshine slide, tuned “Baby” down to Open G and started in on some “Walking Blues”. We spent the rest of the night playing blues Hambone, “Baby”, and I. When it came time for Hambone to head back to the country he said,” Now when I got Baby, I knew the first thing I was gonna do with her was bring her by and let you two get to know each other. I’m gonna leave her here with you for a while til next time we get to visit.” “Hambone, are you sure about that?” I asked secretly hoping he was indeed sure about that. He assured me he was. We said our goodbyes and for the next six weeks “Baby” and I became real good friends.

BBQ Cover 3Then I started to feel guilty about holding on to “Baby” so long. I called him and left him a message. Several days went by and I left him another and said,”Hambone you gotta come get “Baby” because I’m getting way too attached to her and she needs to go back home with you.” Hambone called me back finally and said he was coming by in a couple of days for another round of Blues & BBQ. And a couple of days later he did. And we drank some brews, ate some BBQ, and played Blues til we had our fill.

Snapshot 1 (2-23-2015 4-34 PM)When it was time for Hambone to go I said ” Now Hambone, don’t forget “Baby”. I love her but she’s yours and she needs to go back home with you.” Hambone looked at me with a big ol’ smile on his face and said” Now Bobby, I had no intentions of ever taking her back home. When I saw her that day that boy brought her in for some ‘shine I knew exactly what I was gonna do with her. If I’d a given her to you you’d have said, now Hambone I couldn’t take that. But I knew if you and “Baby” got acquainted for awhile you’d grow to love her and wouldn’t want her to leave. She’s your “Baby” now……..take good care of her.” Hambone gave me a big ole bear hug and headed off into the sunrise in that ole ford truck. And “Baby” and I have been together ever since.

Names & certain particulars have been changed to protect the guilty.

Luv ya Hambone!

Thanks for supporting me on My Blues Americana Journey!