Barrett Martin is a rhythmic renaissance man – a drummer, producer, writer and composer known among grunge acolytes as the kitman for Screaming Trees, the Pearl Jam/Alice in Chains-hybrid Mad Season, Screaming Trees, the Barrett Martin Group, The Walking Papers, The Levee Walkers and beyond. Martin’s insight is one from practice, not theory. He holds a masters degree in ethnology and linguistics and was a professor of music at Antioch University Seattle. He has played on over a hundred albums and film soundtracks, and has spent the better part of his adult life traveling, studying the world’s cultures through music.
Barrett’s lifelong musical journeys culminated in the release of new book, The Singing Earth, chronicling experiences across six continents, beginning with his involvement in the rising 1990s Seattle music scene. He’s played most of the major cities of the Western world, and his stories span a wild range – from discovering song lines and sea trails in Australia and New Zealand, to trance drumming in Central America, to Griot music in West Africa and more. He sat in with Cuban musicians as a cultural diplomat, toured with a Brazilian rock band, recorded shamanic music in the Peruvian Amazon with Shipibo shaman and singer Herlinda Agustin Fernandez, and beyond.
At a time of great turmoil and great potential in our society, Barret’s insights are valuable reminders of a higher cultural calling. We first met Martin at the Antiquiet Session taping with Walking Papers, after the release of their debut album. So it’s a fitting return, after the release of Walking Papers’ second album WP2, that we reconnect with Barrett for the AQ Podcast.
The Barrett Martin Group also just released a new album, Transcendence. Pick it up separately or as part of a package with the previous 5 BMG CDs in The Singing Earth Book & soundtrack package. Dig into Barrett’s world at his official site.