with Jeffrey Martin and Sean Tracey
Fronted by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Travis Ward, Hillfolk Noir is a trio of neo-traditionalists playing traditional music on traditional instruments for non-traditional times. They call it Junkerdash, and it’s a sound brewed from folk, bluegrass, punk, string-band blues and other influences musical and otherwise. Recommended pairings: Drinking and dancing.
Hillfolk Noir has performed with Built to Spill, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, James McMurtry, Deer Tick, Gourds, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Devil Makes Three, Charlie Parr, Dark Dark Dark, Finn Riggins, Gerald Collier, Caleb Klauder, Train, Glen Phillips, Jesse Dayton, Neva Dinova and tons of other great acts that you may or may not have heard of.
A sampling of accolades for Hillfolk Noir:
“If John Steinbeck owned a speakeasy, Hillfolk Noir would be the house band.” — John Doe (X, The Knitters)
“Brilliant, edgy punked-up acoustic hillbilly blues.” — American Roots UK
“Hillfolk Noir have fine-tuned their dark, Depression-era jangly blues to become one of the most incredible bands in [Boise]. They are as honest as they come.” — Seattle Weekly
“I love this.” — Ricky Ross, BBC Radio Scotland
“Too authentic to be considered alt anything. Ward is an evocative, charismatic singer-songwriter who embraces diverse shards of Americana. Time-warped kaleidoscopes —sparse, historically reverent and pretty terrific.” — Michael Deeds, Idaho Statesman
“You guys sound like Johnny Cash on Robitussin.” — Ryan, Pengilly’s Saloon bartender
As a babe Jeffrey Martin sought out solitude as often as he could find it. He’s always been that way, and he has never understood the whole phenomenon of smiling in pictures, although he is a very happy guy. One night in middle school he stayed up under the covers with a flashlight and a DiscMan, listening to Reba McEntire’s ‘That’s the Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ on repeat until the DiscMan ran out of batteries. That night he became a songwriter, although he didn’t actually write a song until years later. After high school he spent a few years distracting himself from having to gather up the courage to do what he knew he had to do.
Eventually he found his way to a writing degree, and then a teaching degree. He wrote most days like his life depended on it, all sorts of things, not just songs, but songs too. He fell in love with teaching high school English, which was fantastic because he never thought he’d actually come to truly love it. His students were fierce and unstoppable forces of noise and curiosity, and for all that they took from him in sleep and sense, they gave him a hundred times back in sparks and humility.
All the while he was also playing truckloads of music. There was one weekend where he flew to LA while grading essays on the plane, played two shows, and then flew back home, still grading essays, and woke up to teach at 5 am on Monday morning. It was around this time he started wondering if such a life was sustainable.
Alas, music, the tour life, was a constant raccoon scratching at the back door. Jeffrey spent nights on end sitting up in bed, and then sitting on the front porch, staring off into the dark, wondering if he could bear to leave teaching to go on tour full time. Eventually his brain caught up with what his guts had known for months. With tears in his eyes he announced to his students that he wouldn’t be back the following year, and that he didn’t feel right hollering at them to chase their dreams at all cost if he wasn’t going to do the same.
Jeffrey Martin tours full time now. He is always making music, and he is always coming through your town. He misses teaching like you might miss a good old friend who you know you’ll meet again.
Jeffrey has put out bunches of music since 2009, but he’s most proud of the more recent stuff. He’s fortunate to be a part of the great and loving family that is Fluff and Gravy Records in Portland, OR. “One Go Around,” due out in October 2017, will be his 3rd full length album. At his luckiest, he’s shared shows with the likes of Sean Hayes, Gregory Alan Isakov, Jeffrey Foucault, Joe Pug, Peter Mulvey, Amanda Shires, Tracy Grammer, David Wilcox, and others.
He currently lives in Portland, OR but feels lately that it has become a secret that someone figured out how to monetize. And since he has no money of any kind, everything beautiful about the city is marred by the quiet ticking of a countdown toward the day that he’ll have to find somewhere to live that doesn’t require a steady bleeding fortune.
Jack of a handful of trades and master of a couple Sean Tracey has been gigging and recording Psychotonkapolitan music for over 20 years. After 26 years in Alaska and 5 in Austin, TX., Sean is currently on a sabbatical ramble lookin’ for the next stop on the honky-tonk merry-go-round. Sean records and releases singles via this site; join the mailing list for new release notifications. Make sure you’re havin’ fun ’cause it might end tomorrow; or maybe never.