Jodi Martin began spontaneously composing songs as a three year old, growing up on her family’s grain farming property east of the remote coastal town of Ceduna. By the time she was four, her mum, a schoolteacher, had taken notice of Jodi’s compositions and suggested Jodi record the songs on her cassette machine.
By the age of four, Jodi had caught sight of her lifelong dream, to become a great songwriter one day.
In a childhood spent between driving farm equipment and fencing, and playing in the bush and in the ocean with her siblings and friends, Jodi was deeply inspired by the ocean which, just like the arid land, seemed to stretch out forever, and was at the heart of the small but culturally rich community.
Jodi worked passionately on her craft, listening to her parents’ country and folk record collection from Slim Dusty to Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan. By the time Jodi was ten, she had written many songs. At this point, she introduced the craft to her younger brother who was 8 at the time, and the pair co-wrote several songs, from humorous to heart connection country songs.
By the time they were sixteen and fourteen, Jodi had taken up guitar and her brother Tony had taken up drums. Jodi taught her twelve year old sister Robyn bass guitar, and the teenagers began performing their original songs, along with rock and country covers from Cold Chisel to Kenny Rogers in the pubs and football clubs across their home turf of Eyre Peninsula, from Penong to Port Lincoln.
At the age of sixteen, Jodi began to receive invitations to perform at country music showcases and festival talent quests. Jodi met Kasey and Nash Chambers and the Dead Ringer Band at the Victor Harbour Country Music Festival, and they shared stories of growing up on the Nullarbor Plain, near Jodi’s hometown. Nash asked Jodi to send him a recording of her songs, which culminated in Kasey recording Jodi’s song Why for the Dead Ringer Band’s ARIA Award Winning album Homefires the following year.
Jodi’s songwriting was always a passionate search for that ‘great song’, and at 16, she was still happily oblivious to musical genre. In caravan park jam sessions with the Chambers family, Nash and Bill would sometimes say – well, that’s a good song Jodes, but you do know that it’s not actually a Country song, its more Grunge. Following her performance in Tamworth’s Starmaker Grand Final, a judge told her ‘You’re a bit too folk for country’. Jodi replied ‘What’s folk??’
That year, Jodi enrolled in Southern Cross University’s contemporary music course to further her studies in songwriting and composition, as well as audio production. She studied world music, embraced reggae influences, and was inspired to learn the roots of contemporary music and how musical genres had evolved.
It was outside of the university walls, however, in the subtropical ‘hippie’ hinterland between Lismore and Byron Bay, a stark contrast to her coastal desert home, that Jodi found her musical community. Jodi found herself warmly embraced, both musically and personally, by a passionate community of folk musicians and storytellers. Suddenly Jodi understood why her socially conscious approach to lyrics had been labeled ‘a bit too folk’ by the country music adjudicators in Tamworth. On the NSW North Coast, Jodi came of age. Her roots would always be in country, but in the folk community, artistically, she felt like she had come home. Jodi took out multiple awards at the North Coast Entertainment Industry Awards, and her band began playing regular packed gigs on the NSW North Coast.
A turning point in Jodi’s career came about when she was 19, and playing a last-minute set at the Lismore Festival’s Unplugged stage. Unbeknownst to Jodi, a tour promoter was watching from the audience. The promoter was impressed, and asked Jodi for a recording to send to an international artist that he planned to bring out to Australia the following year.
That artist turned out to be Arlo Guthrie, master storyteller and folksinger, who played Woodstock when he himself was 19, and the son of influential singer songwriter Woody Guthrie. Arlo listened to Jodi’s recording, and invited Jodi to be the opening act for his national tour of Australia the following year.
Joining Arlo on tour was to be a pivotal influence on Jodi. Experiencing Arlo’s humorous, multi-layered storytelling every night, and his songs, steeped in roots music traditions, Arlo became a significant mentor to Jodi.
Jodi subsequently released the rootsy albums Water and Wood, and Fifteen Minutes Out to Sea, as well as 2011’s World Turning EP. She received impressive reviews both in Australia and overseas, with the Weekend Australian naming Jodi ‘one of Australia’s most talented singer songwriters’. Jodi has headlined her own national tours, and played Australia’s major festivals including Woodford, The National and Port Fairy Folk Festivals and The Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival. Jodi has had the privilege of touring with international folk rock icons, such as Arlo Guthrie (US), Luka Bloom (IRE), Bruce Cockburn (CAN), The Frames (IRE), The Waifs (Aust) and Richard Thompson (UK). Continuing working with her hero and mentor Arlo Guthrie, Jodi joined Guthrie on three national tours, and their connection was continued when Jodi relocated to Montreal to focus on touring in Eastern Canada.
In 2011, Arlo and Jodi embarked on a songwriting road trip, writing on the tour bus from Florida to New York State. Each day for three weeks, they wrote a new song, and several songs from this journey appear on Jodi’s album Saltwater, including the lead single, Saltwater in My Hair.
And so, with the new album and music video ready for their official release in January 2015, Jodi is hitting the road once again to do what she does best – connect with people from the stage. With a deeper understanding of life and an insightful album of songs and stories to share, Jodi’s live shows make a unique connection with every single person in the audience. Her songs, stories and humour authentically celebrate life in all it’s richness, and draw the listener in to what is an inspiring and uplifting experience.