NASHVILLE, Tenn.—GRAMMY®-nominated and multi-DOVE Award-winning family trio The Martins have just completed an all-new release—their first a cappella recording in over 15 years—entitled A Cappella (Gaither Music Group). Known far and wide for their impeccable, tight family blend, siblings Joyce, Jonathan and Judy have put together a collection they describe as “the hardest thing they have ever recorded.”
“A cappella music is the purest form of vocal music to us,” adds Jonathan. “It keeps you on your toes and makes you sing better. To perform it live you have to be on your ‘A game.’ To attempt it is humbling; to accomplish it is exciting and rewarding.”
“We’ve been singing a cappella music professionally for 20 years,” describes Joyce. “It’s something we are known for, so we honestly felt like, ‘Hey, we’ve got this. It’s what we do, and we are putting together a great team of producers and arrangers. We just gotta do what they tell us to do.’ However, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life! It made me realize I’ve got so much to learn and areas in which to grow. We found it very daunting at times…but now that it is finished I’m so proud of it!”
Part of the musical growth and complex arrangements stemmed from working with acclaimed performers, arrangers and producers Michael English, Lari Goss, David Phelps and Matthew Holt.
English, who produced all but one song on the new release, has been a longtime friend and advocate of The Martins. “One of my favorite things about Michael is that he is a great teacher,” explains Judy. “He doesn’t just tell you how to sing a part of a song; he helps you sing better in general. He forces you to be better through the process.”
“This was the first time Michael had ever produced an a cappella record,” adds Joyce. “He was a little nervous, and he was growing at the same time we were growing. He has been a part of our career for so many years. We would not be The Martins we are today if it weren’t for Michael.”
The Martins began giving credit to Lari Goss over 15 years ago when he produced and arranged their landmark recording An A Cappella Hymns Collection. He was back around the table with the trio to arrange several songs on this all-new release including a cover of “The Prayer.”
“This song has always been done as a duet,” describes Jonathan. “We weren’t sure if we could make the arrangement into one to fit a trio. We knew that if anybody could Lari Goss could do it. He said, ‘I don’t know if we can do that as a trio,’ so we moved on to other songs. Then during a break he started playing ‘The Prayer’ on piano. All of our ears perked up. He said, ‘Give me just a minute. Let’s try this.’ It began to work and come together. It is one of my favorite accomplishments of the project.”
Other accomplishments vary from hymns the trio has known since their childhoods (“Fairest Lord Jesus,” “Praise to the Lord”) and old “spirituals” (“When I Go Away”) to mainstream pop crossover songs (“You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “The Prayer”) and even a little “Reggae style” mixed into an arrangement (“Three Little Birds”). It showcases the group’s heralded ability to transcend musical styles, appease their fan base and weave in some of their personal favorites.
“It was Michael’s idea to bring David and Matthew into the studio,” Joyce recalls. “We were looking for something stylistically different. When there’s not any music to accompany you, you want something there to make the songs sound different. It’s easier to do that with musicians, but in this case we wanted to do a different thing with arrangements; so we brought them in, and as they say the rest is history.”
“We still love our previous a cappella music like ‘The Doxology’ and ‘Riverside Medley,’” Judy assures. “We’re always going to do those. We wanted to add some new songs to our repertoire, and we hope that our audiences will embrace these new songs as well.”
“This new music is something that has challenged us beyond our expectations,” says Joyce. “We had to work harder than ever and strive for the excellence that we believe God expects from us. We were raised with that work ethic, and we believe that God expects us to never stop striving or stop growing and to be the best we can be. We want to honor Him every time we go into the studio or onto the stage.”
In addition to their own concert appearances, the trio is currently hitting stages alongside singer/songwriter/comedian Mark Lowry on the Music and Madness Tour. Additionally, they are featured on select Gaither HOMECOMING Tour dates. Their national and international exposure continues to grow as A Cappella will receive prime placement in retail outlets and will air as part of a special TV offer on Dish TV, DirecTV, AT&T Uverse, GaitherTV, TBN, RFD, FamilyNet, CTN, GMC, GMTN, Guardian, Liberty, TCT and TLN. It will also air in Canada on Vision TV, CTS, The Miracle Channel and Hope TV.
Distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution, the new release will available at retail and digital outlets worldwide including iTunes, Amazon and www.gaither.com and www.martinsonline.com.
To keep up with the latest happenings with The Martins, visit www.martinsonline.com, connect with them at facebook.com/martinsonline or follow them on Twitter: @martinsonline.