May 08--It's hard to imagine the Orlando music scene without Joseph Martens, a fixture at long-running events such as the monthly Southern Fried Sundays at Will's Pub, a force behind the annual charitable-minded John Lennon Christmas Tribute concerts, radio host and all-around advocate for local music and culture.
Soon, Orlando music fans will need to get used to the idea. Martens and his musician wife, Jessy Lynn Martens, are hitting the road this month to explore musical career possibilities outside of Central Florida.
To say farewell, the couple is hosting a Happy Trails concert Saturday and Sunday, May 10-11, at Wallaby Ranch in Davenport. The Martenses will perform on a bill that also includes homegrown favorites such as Terri Binion, Kaleigh Baker, Thomas and Hannah Wynn, and Stephen Rock.
"We're hosting our going-away party where we got married, Wallaby Ranch," Joseph Martens said in an email from Switzerland, where the couple is finishing a short European tour as the duo Juno Smile. "We'll have live music both Saturday night starting around 8 p.m. and all day Sunday till 8."
For Joseph Martens, the time is right to move out of Orlando after almost two decades as a presence in the music scene.
"I've been overdue for shaking things up for some time now," he said. "It's just harder to change when things are good and, frankly, it'd be hard for me to complain about my life in Orlando. I just know if we didn't take the chance we might regret it later. If we really just have one life to live, we better make it count."
For Jessy Lynn Martens, who has contributed fiddle, mandolin, vocals and guitar to an assortment of Orlando bands, the decision is partly logistical. The couple plans to make a new base in either Atlanta or Nashville, Tenn., cities more centrally located for national touring than Orlando.
"The opportunities to do shows, open shows and play across the country are easier from central locations like Atlanta and Nashville, rather than being all the way down on the beautiful peninsula," she said.
Jessy Lynn Martens already scored a potential career break in Atlanta, where she recorded tracks for the soundtrack of the FX animated series "Archer." In addition to playing fiddle and mandolin, she also provided the singing voice of the animated character Cherlene on songs that include a bluegrass duet of the Kenny Loggins' hit "Danger Zone" with Loggins himself.
Although the soundtrack has generated positive reviews from Entertainment Weekly and other publications, it might not yield the career boost that she might have expected.
"The recordings that exist now belong to FX and for the time being, talk is pretty much closed on the subject of them doing anything more than the digital release this past April," she said. "The 'Archer' opportunity has opened up many doors and the record has gotten great reviews resulting in record companies showing interest in a follow-up record, but it will be independent from the television show."
Joseph Martens will return for shows with his alt-country band, Hindu Cowboys, on June 26 at Will's Pub and June 27 at Cafe DaVinci' in DeLand, but rarely after that.
"We rented our house in Orlando indefinitely," he said. "That doesn't mean we won't come back to visit or play a special show. I would still like to keep [alive] the annual John Lennon Tribute and Sunday Morning Coming Down Picnic Jam in Orlando, but who knows what life has in store for us."
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Joseph & Jessy's Happy Trails Party
What: Going-away party and concert with music by Joseph and Jessy Lynn Martens, Thomas and Hannah Wynn, Terri Binion, Kaleigh Baker and Stephen Rock
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10; 2-8 p.m. Sunday, May 11
Where: Wallaby Ranch, 1805 Deen Still Road, Davenport
Cost: $10 at the gate
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