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2018 LOCALS LOVE: Singer-Songwriter John Arthur Martinez is Devoted to Community

Singer-songwriter John Arthur Martinez was voted the 2018 Locals Love Us favorite band/entertainer in the Marble Falls area by The Picayune readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners. File photo

MARBLE FALLS — The Picayune readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners voted John Arthur Martinez as their 2018 Locals Love Us favorite band/entertainer in the Marble Falls area, but his music isn’t the only reason people love the Americana artist, according to Bill Rives.

Rives, the former Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce executive director, recalled a conversation with Martinez regarding starting a music festival.

Martinez was approached by another community to organize one but declined.

“He said, ‘If I’m going to work hard and create a Hill Country event, it’s going to be in Marble Falls,’” Rives remembered hearing. “He’s devoted to (the community). He uses his talent and skills to benefit that.”

That music festival become FiestaJAM, which is held every fall in Marble Falls and features big-name acts and up-and-coming artists as well as local wines.

Rives said he organized a meeting between Martinez and local music producer Robert Linder during which the two shared ideas and visions for the festival.

To Martinez, organizing the event was simply doing what he was taught to do: keep his word.

As a graduating high school senior, he received a scholarship for college from the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber and told members he would do something for the city in the future as a way to say thank you.

Fiesta JAM fulfilled that promise.

Rives said few people can write or sing a song quite like Martinez, who scribes what he knows, which includes growing up right here in the Highland Lakes.

“He’s a great guy and superb talent and devoted to his family and friends,” Rives said. “He uses his talent and energy to make our area better.

“His talent is without question,” he added. “The songs he’s written, his passion, his energy in every performance is so great. He has such a good heart.”

After receiving the Locals Love Us honor, Martinez was as appreciative as ever.

“The folks who support this singer-songwriter allow me to make a living doing what I love,” he said. “Without that support, I’d have to get a day job. I don’t necessarily want to go back to a day job.”

He had one of those with a steady paycheck and benefits when he worked for Marble Falls High School as a tennis coach. Martinez said those who teach and coach are definitely answering a calling.

“That’s not an easy job,” he said, “but I’ve been called to be a songwriter and singer for a long time.”

When he finished second (one place ahead of Miranda Lambert) in the first season of the TV music competition show “Nashville Star” on the USA Network in 2003, it only confirmed what he already knew: He was born to be an entertainer.

Since then, he’s released albums, gone on tour, and looked for other opportunities to give back.

In 2017, Martinez helped KBEY 103.9 FM raise money to help local organizations purchase toys for children in need when he donated the use of a track for the station’s first “Ed & Kay present A KBEY & Friends Christmas” CD.

Martinez’s “What A Christmas It Was” is about a positive memory he had on his grandparents’s farm during the holidays.

He still follows the advice of his mentor, Kent Finlay, who told him to write about what he knows.

He is releasing a new album, “San Antonio Woman,” and is working closely with radio promoter Jenni Finlay, the daughter of his mentor.

“It seemed right I work with her,” Martinez said. “I’m excited about pushing ‘San Antonio Woman’ to radio in advance of my next tour of Europe in April.”

In the notes for his new album is this:

“John Arthur Martinez is one of the great Texas singer-songwriters. Having seen him perform as a solo artist and with his band, it’s evident that this guy is the real thing.” — Ray Benson, Grammy Award-winning Asleep at the Wheel front man.

With more than 40 years in the music business, Benson definitely speaks from experience when describing Martinez.

Go to store.cdbaby.com to purchase Martinez’s music.

You can listen to him when he performs from 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays at Trailblazer Grille, 216 S. Main St. in Burnet, and 7-9:17 p.m. Wednesdays at On The Rocks, 4401 Cottonwood Drive in Cottonwood Shores.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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