Josh Martin to perform at Crooked Tree

Petoskey News Review
Petoskey News Review

PETOSKEY — Josh Martin knows how to dance the fine line between radio country and his deep-holler Kentucky roots. It’s clear the songwriter, vocalist and guitarist is no stranger to longnecks and pick-up trucks — but he’s even closer to the bluegrass of his youth.

His latest album, "Nothing Holding Me," is taut balancing act of accessibility and credibility, replete with honest songwriting and extraordinary musicianship. His songwriting is a testament to life in Kentucky, where he used to run up and down the holler roads — going anywhere he wanted, because he could. That freedom, he says, rings out in every note he plays. You can hear traces of Guy Clark and Darrell Scott in his lyric, and the echo of John Mayer and Tony Rice in his guitar licks and a hint of old-time spirituality in his voice. His songs are both smart and accessible, running wild and smiling back at Nashville from the open road. Martin is at the apex of his musical freedom, not afraid of joy or sorrow, just eager to share what he loves with the audience.

Martin is fiercely independent, refusing to bow to the corporate Nashville “machine”. It is this independence coupled with his passion for authenticity in songwriting that has attracted the attention of Nashville’s premier session musicians. Last summer Martin rounded up his favorite musicians and brought them to northern Michigan for a series of shows. That tour made such a positive impression that they are back at it this summer.

Jenee Fleenor is the most in-demand fiddler in Nashville. She is reigning three-time CMA Musician of the Year whose touring credits include Steven Tyler and Blake Shelton. Fleenor has a display in the Country Music Hall of Fame and, in a story published in Wide Open Country, her peers described her as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time).

Matt Menefee has received accolades as one of the premier banjo virtuosos on the scene today. Menefee loves to showcase the unique versatility of the banjo beyond Bluegrass, in styles as diverse as Hip Hop, Rock, EDM, Jazz, and even Classical music. He has performed and recorded with artists and producers including Mumford & Sons, Béla Fleck, Dan Auerbach (of the Black Keys), and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Seth Taylor is a multi-instrumentalist from the mountains of western North Carolina who has earned the reputation of being one of Nashville’s top ‘pickers’. Taylor grew up playing bluegrass and acoustic music, and landed his first professional touring gig at age 15. After moving to Nashville in 2012, he joined acoustic supergroup Mountain Heart. Taylor has shared the stage with many artists including Ricky Skaggs, Dailey & Vincent, Craig Morgan, Carly Pearce; performing at landmark stages such as Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, and Library of Congress. While touring has been a big part of Taylor’s career, he has also become a sought-after session player, playing on countless recordings including current Billboard #1 American Heartbreak by Zach Bryan.

Barry Bales is the long-time bass player and harmony vocalist for Alison Krauss and Union Station. The 2012 Grammy was awarded as a member of the Union Station band on Paper Airplane. Over the years, Bales has become one of the most in-demand session musicians in acoustic music. He has recorded and performed with such artists as Reba McEntire, Susan Ashton, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Bowman, The Cox Family, Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Dan Tyminski, Patty Loveless amongst others. Martin said that “adding Barry into the mix is a game changer. The sound that he pulls out of the upright bass, paired with his incredible sense of time and rhythm is the gold standard. I am honored and still in disbelief we get to share the stage with Barry this summer.”

In anticipation of this forthcoming tour, Martin said “...something whispers ‘divine intervention’ when I consider the opportunity and the challenge of bringing all of these tremendously talented folks together on one stage. This is certainly not an everyday occurrence and when the audience hears the final note of the show, they will leave having witnessed not just a concert, but a true musical experience they will be talking about and replaying in their minds for years to come. That much, I can promise.”

This event is organized by L’Arbre Croche Realty, which hosts private concerts on the L’Arbre Croche Association’s beach.

“When we received the commitment from Josh Martin and his star-studded lineup of Nashville’s finest we felt it presented a perfect opportunity to share this night of incredible music with the community in the intimate setting of the Crooked Tree Arts Center stage. We are delighted that this event supports the arts center and the musicians with 100 percent of ticket proceeds,” he said.

This show coincides with Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Art Exhibition “Honky Tonk: Photographs by Henry Horenstein.” This collection of photographs document the changing world of country music and its fans. Shot in bars, music ranches, and famous venues like Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, Horenstein not only shows us the performers on stage but also the dedication and love the fans have for the performers and the music. Horenstein began this project at a time when he saw the world of country music changing and he wanted to capture it as it was before it turned into the big business that it is today. Twenty-seven framed prints will be on display.

Previous exhibitions of Honky Tonk have been held at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the RISD Museum, the Light Factory, ClampArt, and more. The art exhibit will have extended hours on Wednesday, July 27 from 10 a.m. until show time at 8 p.m. After the show there will be an opportunity to visit with the musicians at the exhibit.

Tickets are $25 and available online at

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