March Martin, 11, and Kell Martin, 8, grandsons of Oak Ridge Boy lead singer Duane Allen, stole the show in front of a capacity crowd at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville when brought on stage by country performer Marty Stuart last summer. They’ve since become occasional guests on RFD-TV’s “The Marty Stuart Show” as they kick off what could become a life-long career as musicians. Saturday, March 13, 2010, March and Kell have another guest shot slated for Marty’s show.
When Marty Stuart brought a couple of youngsters on stage to make their Ryman Auditorium debut last summer, he might have unwittingly created a moment that will become the stuff of legends. March Martin, 11, and Kell Martin, 8, grandsons of Oak Ridge Boy Duane Allen, stole the show in front of a capacity crowd at the Mother Church of Country Music. They’ve since become occasional guests on RFD-TV’s “The Marty Stuart Show” as they kick off what could become a life-long career as musicians. Saturday, March 13, 2010, March and Kell have another guest shot slated for Marty’s show.
March and Kell received multiple ovations during their Ryman performance in June as they joined Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives for a version of the Staple Singers gospel classic “Slow Train.” Amid a lineup that included the Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker and Justin Moore, the boys stood out as a real highlight.
“I was just blown away,” the Oaks’ Duane Allen recalls. “Singing harmony, playing the guitar and piano—wow! I did not know that they had progressed so quickly!”
Kell and March’s father, Paul Martin, used to play bass in the Oaks’ band. Paul was also the lead singer on several country hits by Exile and currently has a slot with Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives. And, he’s married to Allen’s daughter, Jamie.
The Martin house—purchased from Allen in the 1990s—came with a studio, and March and Kell practically lived and breathed music even before they could walk. March, who’s already showing great promise as a guitarist, is able to identify nuanced studio tricks from simply hearing a song on the radio. Kell learns complex new pieces on piano in just a couple of days. Putting the home studio to use, Paul has kept friends and family abreast of the boys’ musical gifts, but even he was surprised when Stuart decided to throw them in front of a crowd at the Ryman. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that Stuart would give them that kind of forum: He made his own Ryman debut as a teenager.
“Marty looks at my two boys and he sees himself, because he was 13 when he went on the road with Lester Flatt,” Paul notes. “He said, ‘I look at them—especially March, I was the same age. I can see it in his eyes. That bug has bitten him.’”
In the meantime, Paul Martin has begun looking for material for the boys to record. He doesn’t want to push them into any specific career direction, but since they’re hungry for music, he’s hoping they can at least get a sense of the difficult road that likely lies ahead of them before they go full-bore after that vocation.
“I’m not necessarily looking for ‘hits’ right now,” Paul says of the album. “It’s not really about that at this point. This is a chance to let them have some fun and kind of forge a direction: What is it you’d really like to do musically? Leave it to March and he’d do like a Merle Haggard song and then do Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Crazy Train’ on the same project and have fun doing it! It’s just about helping them find their way.”
The Marty Stuart Show airs on RFD-TV Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo Downloads: (all photos – http://www.flickr.com/photos/47931963@N08/)
1) http://www.flickr.com/photos/47931963@N08/4419988059/ (Kell, March, Marty Stuart, Paul & Jamie Martin Performance Shot)
2) http://www.flickr.com/photos/47931963@N08/4419979591/ (Duane Allen and family with Marty Stuart)
3) http://www.flickr.com/photos/47931963@N08/4420746416/ (Kell, March, Marty Stuart, Paul & Jamie Martin Performance Shot 2)
(To download above photos from Flickr – select the photo and click the ‘”All Sizes” button above it. On the next page, choose the size you want to download.)
Posted On: West Hollywood, CA March 12, 2010