Leon Martin's life began on a small share cropper's farm near Franklin, TN. His father, grandfather and uncles introduced him to music at a young age, picking and singing on the front porch while Leon and his sister learned to harmonize. Many evenings were spent listening to the Grand Ole Opry. Leon and his family would listen on the radio of his father's '37 Ford parked under a big tree in the front yard.
Leon enjoyed listening to and singing country music but his strongest musical influence came from a nearby black church. Leon loved the sound of the gospels and would sneak away from his home Sunday mornings to sit on the steps of the church and sing along with the choir. This love of the gospels left an indelible mark on Leon and inspired his development in R & B.
By the late 50's leon was singing to packed houses from new York to Las Vegas, entertaining the crowds with his soulful sound. During one such engagement in New York at the Peppermint Lounge, Leon caught the attention of Jerry Wexler, R & B's top producer for Atlantic records. Wexler immediately signed Leon to a recording contract making him the first white artist to ever be signed to sing the Blues. Shortly thereafter Wexler produced Leon's first hit single, "Turn On Your Love Lights."
The unsurpassed ability Leon had to belt out the blues quickly attracted the attention of other labels and led to recording deals with Mercury and Monument Records. At Mercury, Shelby Singleton produced and Bill Justice arranged, developing a Big Band sound with R & B. At Monument Leon was produced by Ray Stevens. The two had met while performing together at a show in Peoria, IL. Stevens brought Leon to Monument as the label's first blues act.
The grind of touring 365 days per year finally became unbearable and Leon left the road. He settled down in Virginia where he became a successful business man. Leon's love of music never dwindled, though, and eventually his heart led him back to Nashville to once again focus on his music.
Leon now lives and works in the heart of Music Row where he writes, produces and arranges for his own House of Martin Publishing and Bubilon Records. His vast experience and knowledge of music have aided him in excelling in a variety of musical styles including country, ballads, dance tunes and, of course, Rhythm and Blues.
"Leon Martin and Friends" is Leon's most recent project and one he has dreamed about for years. It is truly a work of love and includes a collection of his favorite songs. These songs have been written and performed by Leon's best friends:
"Leon Martin and Friends"
Bruce Channel, writer and performer of the hit "Hey Baby." Bruce has performed all over the U.S. and Europe, sharing the stage with everybody from the Beatles to Delbert McClinton.
Larry Henley, whose first big hit was "Bread and Butter," has written songs recorded by Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood and Donna Summer to name a few. larry wrote the Grammy award winning "Wind Beneath My Wings."
Clifford Curry, better known as the "King of Beach Music" throughout the Carolinas. Clifford has written and performed in the U.S. and written songs for others and himself, including his #1 hit, "She Shot A Hole In My Soul."
Jimmy Hall, musician, vocalist and writer was the lead singer for "Wet Willie" during the "70's and later for "The Prisoners of Love." A multi-talented artist with many songs to his credit, Jimmy is a Nashville favorite.
After all my years of making music I am more excited about the music on this album, "Leon Martin And Friends" than I have been about anything I've ever done before. Not only is the music great, but I got to create it with some of my dearest friends. I'm sure you will know each of them and have enjoyed their music over the years as much as I have. We had such a great time making this together that I feel we capture the very thing that makes feet tap and fingers pop!
So please enjoy it and share it with your dancing audiences and your special friends. If you have a club to book with a band or a dance hall to treat with a track date as the song on the album says, "I Can Help". Please feel free to contact us for any live opportunities and we will always be there to entertain and "cut the rug'!
Thank your for listening and I hope my fans and DJ friends will keep on playing those "hits"!Musically yours,
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