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John Arthur Martinez

Lone Starry Night – 2004 (Dualtone)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by John Arthur Martinez

In 2003, the television show "Nashville Star" - the country equivalent of "American Idol" - finally brought John Arthur Martinez's music to a national audience. Soon after he finished second to Buddy Jewell, Dualtone Records signed him. At the age of 41, Martinez was on his way.

Martinez's debut amounts to an extended poetic love letter to his home state of Texas. Martinez wrote all but one of the songs and exudes confidence singing them in his warm, pleasant voice. "Tonight at Fiesta" is a bright, cheery story of young love set on the backdrop of Fiesta in San Antonio, with "the pumpkins, the salsas, the chocolates, the colorful lights." In the title song, Martinez paints a stunning picture of the quiet solitude of the Texas mesas. "Home Made of Stone," the first single, is a simple tale of a couple's dreams, hung on the Texas home that they see in their future.

Martinez is a very good songwriter who performs his songs with a laid-back confidence, la George Strait. Texas country fans, especially, will enjoy his ode to the Lone Star State.