Ex-Screaming Tree and Mad Season drummer Barrett Martin is releasing a second solo album, through his Fast Horse label. Earthspeaker is the follow-up to Martin’s 2004 release, The Painted Desert.
The album was recorded in New Mexico, where Martin now spends much of his non-travel time, and his native Washington state. As with Desert, Martin plays upwards of a dozen different instruments himself while working with six other musicians on the disc (some of whom he worked with on Desert).
Martin, 39, played behind two of the defining voices of the ’90s alternative rock scene: Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan and Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley. He replaced Trees’ drummer Mark Pickerel in 1991 and played on their best known albums, Sweet Oblivion and Dust. In between Screaming Trees records, Martin drummed and provided cello for the “supergroup” Mad Season which featured Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Alice’s Staley, and the late John Baker Saunders.
Sadly, Mad Season would only make one record and Screaming Trees disbanded in 1999 but Martin has remained busy in the years since. He and R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck co-founded Tuatara. This alliance probably helped land Martin a place at the table when R.E.M. made their first album without drummer Bill Berry (Up).
Martin worked on more than 40 albums in one capacity or another (producer, sideman, etc) and founded Fast Horse Recordings. The label has released his solo albums as well as work by musicians from all over the world.
He has worked as a musician most of his adult life. A lifetime of working as a musician has also made him a student of music. He has spent these past few years studying music all over the world having studied or recorded in Belize, Dakar, Senegal, and Cuba as well as other locations.
Martin also relieved a Lay Ordination in the practice of Soto Zen in March 2000.