Jeffrey Martin has today released his new album titled ‘Thank God We Left the Garden’. These are some of the hardest types of songs and albums to make. The kind set in such an intimate setting, such as a simple guitar and solitary vocal, that the songs are literally forced to stand on their own merits. Rely on the structure of the music. And, with Jeffrey Martin, it works. His songwriting shines and his music soars with the feeling of a gentleman poet.
This is music that stands on it’s own. The songs flow into each other like a concept and stay with you like a storied memory. Jeffrey is an artist who plays from the heart and wears that heart on his sleeve.
About Jeffrey Martin
Self-produced and recorded in a tiny shack on the back of Martin’s small corner lot in southeast Portland, the songs on Thank God We Left the Garden began as demos meant for a later visit to a proper studio, but became the quietly potent album itself. Beloved Portland guitarist Jon Neufeld would later mix and master the record and add electric guitar to three songs. Sticking to the same less-is-more approach, his work skillfully and subtly elevates the lyrical intention, becoming such a crucial part of the final result that Martin also credited him as a co-producer.
“There was a magic quality to the sounds I was getting in the shack with these two cheap microphones, some lucky recipe of time and place,” Martin recalls. “I feel like I’ve only just learned how to sing. Like I’ve been chasing this record since my very first recordings. I wanted to really see what I could do, just my guitar and my voice and little else. I don’t think it was conscious. I think maybe it was a reaction to the pace of life these days. The churning news and entertainment and politics and violence of it all. I needed to know that even in this day and age, just a few simple ingredients still hold up.”
The title Thank God We Left the Garden is a paradoxical nod to Martin’s own spiritual conclusions, a theme that is subtly woven throughout the album. The son of a pastor, he touches on his religious upbringing then carries us well beyond his past where humble, nuanced questions about what it means to be alive are free to unfold.
“It’s always bothered me how uptight religion gets around the messiness of our human natures, always trying to tell people they’re broken and flawed from the get-go,” Martin explains. “The only God I can imagine is one who is overjoyed with the mess. Who revels in the edgeless mystery. I imagine hanging around with angels all day gets boring pretty fast. So maybe we got the story wrong. Maybe we were supposed to leave the Garden all along. Maybe that was the first good thing we ever did. After all, I can’t think of anything that has an ounce of meaning or dimension that doesn’t come from failure.”
Martin has been steadily touring throughout North America and Europe since the 2017 release of One Go Around and will embark on an extensive album release tour this November through May 2024 to perform the new songs from Thank God We Left the Garden. Please see below for full tour details.
Featured image by Jen Borst.