If life would have gone the way he wanted and the gun would have gone off the way he planned, a then 19-year-old Bryan Martin would be on his way to a much different place than he is right now. But instead, the 35-year-old breakout country artist is here, turning his stories of past struggles into the ultimate tale of survival.
And he ain’t going nowhere.
Martin’s story begins in the small town of Logansport, Louisiana, in a small church where the kid with the big heart first began to sing. He grew up singing hymns and spirituals created to heal the broken, but his true essence came out when the four-year-old would tear into the fun-loving lyrics of the Billy Ray Cyrus classic “Achy Breaky Heart.”
He kept singing covers from the likes of legendary country music artists such as George Strait until the sport of bull riding caught Martin’s eye. The curious teenager at the time pursued the sport with a passion while also working in the Louisiana hay fields, eventually making enough money to buy his first car – a 1988 Chevrolet Blazer.
But sometimes, Martin would retreat to the woods across the street from the double-wide trailer he called his house, and he would sit underneath the trees and bask in the peace that he could never find at the home he was raised in. And in those quiet moments, he would often notice a measurable amount of pain pouring from his heart.
“I still find myself wanting to go back to that spot.”
Soon, Martin found himself giving in to temptations such as drugs and alcohol, resulting in the decision to drop out of high school and clean up his life in the military. But soon, he was sent home – and the feeling of failure led Martin to ultimately attempt suicide.
“I took 30 Percocet and misfired a 357 when I was 19 years old. My first song came from a suicide note.”
The very next day, Martin met his wife, took a job on a rig, and eventually became a father to four forgiving kids who knew that their dad battled his share of demons each day, but continued to work hard to make the best out of a somewhat painful life.
And when Martin thought life seemed to be at its worst, he was wrong. A near-fatal accident caused Martin to sustain a brain injury that led him to make a complete change in his personal and professional life.
“I made a promise that I was going to take all these broken promises and this guitar that I'd been hiding behind for so long and I was going to make it go to work for once and make it pay itself off. I had done all the suffering I was going to do.”
Indeed, the suffering of fifteen years forever fused into Martin’s unfaltering work ethic eventually resulted in the release of Bryan’s debut album, If It Was Easy, which detailed his struggle with opiate addiction and mental health while also telling the story of growing up in an oil field family. It was this album that set Martin off on a trek to become one of the genre’s grittiest storytellers.
“I just think that if I go hide my scars and I go putting a mask on myself or who I am, I'm doing exactly what I never wanted to do. I wear the scars, and I'm learning to wear it better. The reason why I don't hide anything is because there's too many people that need to know that there is no difference between me and them.”
But whether Martin likes it or not, he is proving he’s unlike anyone else in country music right now. From his Grand Ole Opry debut in August to the release of his latest album Poets & Old Souls that included hits such as “Wolves Cry” and the uplifting “We Ride.” Martin is healing a big with every note he sings.
“That's what songs do…they heal.”
Add that to touring across the country with the likes of Warren Zeiders, Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert, signing with WME’s Kevin Neal for booking representation and surpassing 300 million cumulative worldwide streams, Martin is making quite an impression.
“These songs come from the struggle and all these things that I've been through. I know that me surviving a lot of these things couldn't have been me. I just thank God for it.”
142 Maple St. Wyandotte, MI 48192
142 Maple St..
Wyandotte, Michigan 48192