Michael J. Martin is one of those "tried and true ol' troubadours". He lives the songs he writes and sings. His music has some miles on it. For years, he has traveled throughout America, performing at concerts, colleges, clubs, pubs, churches, prisons, military bases, museums, biker bars, hospitals, and honky tonks. He's played huge outdoor festivals for thousands. And he's played his heart out for empty rooms. He's performed at "The Wall", as well as the United States Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C., and a number of other memorials and state capitals, including his home state of Texas. He's even played the Alamo. At the New Year's Dallas 2000 event, MJM stood on stage with one wooden guitar and had a crowd of 50,000 singing with him on the encore.
His songs are well written and honest and he delivers them with conviction. He makes us think. He makes us laugh. He makes us cry. He makes us feel. He makes us feel like we can make a difference. And all the while, he entertains us. He captivates audiences with his amazing voice and driving rhythm, plus a unique balance of dramatic intensity and easy going humor. His theater background and lifetime of performing are evident in his relaxed, spontaneous manner, and superb timing. As he weaves his wonderful stories, he vividly creates his own personal cast of hilarious characters with uncanny dialects and impressions. His music is best described as "Americana". It contains elements of Folk, Country, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Rock & Roll... even his own brand of Rap. "Whatever suits the song or the situation," he says. He punctuates his sets with classic favorites, but the emphasis is on the original. He is a songwriter's songwriter. The legendary Donovan once said that MJM could "turn a phrase as well as anyone I've ever heard."
"I grew up in West Texas, East New Mexico, and South Vietnam," says Martin. "I had flashbacks... about Texas and New Mexico... while I was in Vietnam. But, I survived. Lived through 'Nam, too." Prior to his Army stint, he had earned a living as an actor, doing Summer Stock and Dinner Theater. The G.I. Bill enabled him to attend Texas Tech, Richland College, and University of Texas at Arlington, where he majored in Theater and English before he settled on Music and began performing in the DFW area. Before long, his talents were recognized and he signed a songwriters' contract with Screen Gems and was soon recording in Dallas and Nashville.
Michael J. Martin spent 12 months in Vietnam, mostly as a Pointman, with the 11th Infantry / Americal Division, class of '68-'69. His citations include: Silver and Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, and Combat Infantryman's Badge.
In the early eighties, Martin teamed with Tim "Doc" Holiday, a decorated, three-tour Navy Corpsman in Vietnam, and the duo performed all across the country. Several songs from their albums, "JOHNNY COMES MARCHIN' HOME" and "TIME TO LAY IT DOWN", became anthems that have helped galvanize the veteran movement. Their musical skills and inspiring leadership made them prominent figures in the cause.
Above and beyond the call of music, Martin and Holiday founded THE LAST PATROL and began marching across America to call attention to vet issues. In 1985, they walked 300 miles from Dallas to The Alamo. "Remember The Alamo! And quit telling us to forget about Vietnam!" was the message. The march was so successful, that in 1987 they did a 1600 mile trek from The Alamo to The Wall in DC! There were over 40 other marches, including 900 miles from FL to DC in 1997, when THE LAST PATROL was reinforced by a new generation of vets.
Sadly, Tim Holiday died of cancer in 2000, but Michael J. Martin continues to carry the message that has brought hope and pride to so many and inspires vets of all eras to "Keep The Faith."