Bob Martin | The River Turns the Wheel

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Bill Morrissey Jack Kerouac John Prine

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United States - Mass. - Boston

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Folk: Modern Folk Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Type: Lyrical
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The River Turns the Wheel

by Bob Martin

“Martin's lyrics have a very American style to them, simple and understated yet concise and often powerful. This is not the poetry of metaphor and myth but the straightforward art of the folk storyteller.” –Sound Bytes (2001)
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. American Street Dream
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4:27 $0.99
2. The River Turns The Wheel
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4:45 $0.99
3. Better Than No Luck
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2:49 $0.99
4. Silver Rails To Rio
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4:03 $0.99
5. Daylight and The Dream
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3:53 $0.99
6. Sweet River Days
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4:19 $0.99
7. Stella Kerouac
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5:42 $0.99
8. Salisbury Beach
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6:11 $0.99
9. Sunshine Avenue
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3:36 $0.99
10. The Old Worthen
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3:17 $0.99
11. When Cotton Was King
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4:15 $0.99
12. Goin' Home
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4:15 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
"Where did this guy come from? Martin has turned in one of the strongest sets I've heard in a long time.

There is nothing derivative about Martin's music. The people and places in these songs ring true and strike at the gut. There is no dead wood, either every song demands to be heard." - John Calkins, Acoustic Musician Magazine

"Possessed of a slightly raspy delivery, Martin's solidly structured words create images of late night subway trains and post midnight mean streets, hobos jumpin trains, fishin' from an abandoned train trestle, long abandoned textile mills and so much more.

One of the most honest and truthful records it has been my pleasure to listen to. Forget the imitators this guy is undoutedly The Bob." - Arthur Wood, Folk Roots Magazine

Bob Martin (born in 1942 in Lowell, Massachusetts) is an American folk singer/songwriter. While attending Suffolk University in Boston during the 1960s, he was influenced by the Cambridge folk scene and played at the Nameless Coffeehouse, Club 47 (now Club Passim), and other folk clubs. Emerging from the same New England city that borne Jack Kerouac, Martin was heavily influenced by the beat poet's writing and career. It was in 1972, fifteen years after Kerouac's On The Road was published, that Bob Martin made his first album Midwest Farm Disaster for RCA Records in Nashville. He worked closely with Chet Atkins, an executive at RCA at the time and many exceptional studio musicians including drummer Kenneth Buttrey, a key player on Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde album. Due to personnel changes at the label and the onset of disco, Martin's career was not given priority.
In 1974, he "dropped out" of pop culture and moved to a farm in West Virginia with his family. He continued to write songs, poetry, novels and pursued his muse through various artistic endeavors. In 1982, he recorded his second album, Last Chance Rider for June Appal Records of Whitesburg,KY. The record was recognized as one of the top three folk albums in the country by the National Assoc of Independent Record Distributors. Martin however chose to play music on his own terms and didn't pursue the music business as a way of life.
It was another ten years, until the release of his third album in 1997. This album, The River Turns the Wheel, contained backing vocals by Bill Morrissey and Cormac McCarthy and was on Martin's own label, Riversong Records. This may be considered Bob Martin's most commercially successful album to date. Despite his passivity toward the music biz, "The River Turns The Wheel" was noticed by music critics around the country. The CD reached number sixteen on the Gavin Americana Chart and was chosen one of the top ten albums in 1997 by Brad Kava of The San Jose Mercury News. Dave Perry of The Lowell Sun chose it as the best folk album of 1997 and Tom Flannery of The Electric City News also picked it as the best CD of that year. He toured nationally and opened for Merle Haggard in 1999.

Martin didn't wait quite so long to release his fourth album. "Next To Nothin" was put out on Riversong Records in 2000, and received more rave critical reviews and extensive airplay on Americana radio programs around the country.

In 2006 Martin completed his first non-fiction novel and he continues to perform nationally and internationally.


to write a review

Frank Morey (performing Songwriter)

My Lowell is decay- burned out mills, junky, abandon, and promise. Bob Martin has lived the Lowevolution. In his Lowell- the cotton mills made cotton, Kerouac was alive, immigrants worked together, the past was lore.... Bob doesn't write songs about Lowell MA, he writes songs about America. "The River Turns The Wheel" IS "The American Street Dream".... This CD is the direction American folkmusic was supposed to go-

Tom Flannery

The best folk CD of the 90's. You will never hear a better lyrical songwriter.

Jack Gubanc

One of the best albums I have bought in a long time. Each one of Bob Martin's songs is a well constructed short story of life. He reminds me of Guy Clark with his ability to maintain a song-writing philosopy "that less is more."

Mike Steele

I first heard Bob's music on the now-defunct MP3.Com -- and it grabbed me virtually from the first few bars.

Bob's songs have a wrenching truthful quality to them that makes you think and feel. In a world too often dominated by the superficial now and the soulless tomorrow, Bob Martin is a reminder that authenticity and depth are not relics.

Many, many thanks for the honour of hearing you, man.

Brad Kava, The San Jose Mercury News

Bob Martin In San Francisco
"Bob Martin is rock's answer to Emily Dickenson. This album mixes the authenticity of Woody Guthrie with the intensity of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes.
Brad Kava, The San Jose Mercury News

Tom Wirtanen

We spell Genius B-O-B M-A-R-T-I-N
Thirty years of listeng to, playing with, and learning from Bob, and now he turns the wheel.So many people and images converge in these songs that the CD is a lifetime, and each song is an installment. This milltown is personified with each life run through the mill,and line by line,each new image is conveyed. It is a pure act of genius. Nobody writes them like this.

Tom Wirtanen