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Starflyer 59 Frontman, Jason Martin, Teams Up With Son, Charlie Martin, On His Rocky Valentines Project

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Heaven's Metal covers the EP split featuring two songs from each artist, Jason Martin, and son, Charlie Martin. But this is no new concept for frontman of Starflyer 59, Jason. He's been making music for decades, thanklessly, helping brother Ronnie Martin, and his wife make music as well. And he's been inspiring Christian artists around the globe, with fun and classy songs, some of them literally about the phenomena of getting "no major awards" from his peers in the music industry, no matter how many great albums he puts out. Of course, this is firmly tongue-in-cheek, on his part. He knows how "out of step" his music is with the mainstream, and I know because I've followed the band since the early 90's, at their founding. They've been one of my guilty pleasures in my twenties, blazing the way for me, in my growing understanding of what it is like to be a struggling Christian artist.

They've given me a long-standing model for long-suffering in the faith-based and Christian art community, that fails to compromise your ethics or style for the sake of a few very unhappy meddlers who like to complain about someone's chord structure. Jason Martin was complaining about his own vocals long before anyone else, and writes numerous songs that openly deride his own style (just "Play The C-Chord", among others), while fully recognizing that as an artist, you must use what you've got to the best of your ability. As he continued making albums... (guess what?) his voice has aged as a fine wine. And his voice is more than serviceable now, even in the album called "Talking Voice vs Singing Voice" which features some of his best singing, since his "When I Learn To Sing" on 2001's "Leave Here A Stranger" which I still consider one of his most groundbreaking albums.

So why does he get "no major awards"? We know why. His style, while being securely in the genius category, isn't very accessible to the mainstream audience. It's simultaneously out-of-date, classic, and avant guarde, and Mr. Martin doesn't care. Jason Martin seems secure in his calling to plod away within a category of music that he is pioneering all by himself. A sub-category within a sub-category of passionate autistic romantic surf-core that nobody seems to be able to grok with much sincerity. Unless of course you are cut from a certain California cloth, or in my case, a Gen-X Floridian who hung out at Christian bookstores and listened to New Order, The Seventy Sevens, and Johnny Cash... and of course The Smiths and Starflyer 59. To this day people still wonder what I'm talking about.

Here's one of Jason Martin's later projects, Starflyer 59's "Young in My Head."

I guess you had to be there... or maybe one day some of us will be there again, to thank people like Jason for keeping a strange flame of passionate Christian psychedelic shoegazer surf-rock alive. In any case, we know that his son Charlie thanks him for helping him in this EP as his band The Rocky Valentines gets that rocky start. We know that even when Jason was alone, plodding away, that Charlie won't have to suffer this way.

Here's Charlie's split EP.

The Rocky Valentines has a decidedly more youthful surfer punk vibe, and I still think he is finding his songwriting footing, but the driving guitar-rock is obviously in his father's footsteps. I like this EP but I really like his original songs from his earlier 2022 EP even more. That said, it is really good to find this growing talent thriving under his father's wings.

The Martins have been a great inspiration to me for years, so blessing them comes natural for me. So, I say: Good luck to you both, "sons of truckers". Your music rocketh out, like the little bird! But we do not need to be the brightest of the head, nor the friend who plays guitar. We are giving up the war, like you, but my dear friends, who will help us when you're gone? "Who," indeed.

Did you enjoy this article? Had you ever heard of Starflyer 59 or his son's project The Rocky Valentines? What do you think of their work? Let us know here (with subscription) or on our social media!

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