Dan (III) — 21st Annual Woody Guthrie Festival, 2018

Woodyfest 2018: Dan Martin

Dan Martin: Hoka He

I Was a Dan Martin Fan and I Didn’t Know It

You know how (Sidenote: The twelfth install­ment in our Woodyfest 2018 report­ing fea­tures Tulsa singer-​songwriter Dan Martin.) some­times you see a movie, and you’re pos­i­tive that a favorite actor appeared in it, and later you dis­cover it was some­one else entirely? Well, some­thing like that hap­pened to this writer as regards Tulsa singer-​songwriter Dan Martin.

I had cre­ated a SoundCloud playlist fea­tur­ing Oklahoma musi­cians to stream on my home music server, and one of the songs in that playlist was a record­ing of Martin singing “You Don’t Know That Town Like Me,” (Sidenote: I came across the track on Nathan Poppe’s Middle of Nowhere playlist. Poppe, an enter­tain­ment writer at The Oklahoman and video­g­ra­pher, pho­tog­ra­pher, and edi­tor at LOOKatOKC, made the record­ing in when he came across Martin play­ing for passersby in down­town Okemah dur­ing Woodyfest. Martin had set up in Woody Guthrie Park; he would make his offi­cial Woodyfest debut.) a heart-​wrenching descrip­tion of a small town in its last throes. The kind of place where pump­jacks sit idle, food stamps sup­port half the town, and Friday Night Lights are about the only thing keep­ing it all from blow­ing to dust. The kind of place, in other words, that dots the plains from North Dakota to the Texas-​Mexico bor­der.

Dan Martin — “You Don't Know That Town Like Me,” Live at the Colony, Tulsa, 29 April 2016

The thing is, at some point I had for­got­ten the song’s prove­nance and was con­vinced that it was a Ryan Adams-penned song from the epony­mous Whiskeytown. I per­sisted in this error even after Martin sat for my OKIE-​X por­trait series . So when I heard Martin per­form­ing it as part of his Woodyfest set on , I assumed he was per­form­ing a cover — a cover I was mighty glad to hear, mind you. I real­ized my mis­take when I began research for this arti­cle.

She’s a day­dream lost in the dol­lar bin /​ Ain’t seen her out since she had twins /​ Food stamps only come with cus­tody …

Dan Martin, “You Don’t Know That Town Like Me”

If you want to hear the song, you’ll have to catch Martin at a show — it’s not on his debut, Hoka Hey, (Sidenote: The title comes from the Lakota phrase usu­ally trans­lated, It’s a good day to die. Martin thought he was record­ing a demo, but things went so well dur­ing the ses­sions that he and fel­low musi­cians Cody Woody, Kevin Smith, and Jacob Flint decided the tracks were pol­ished enough to deserve release as they were. Even though “You Don’t Know That Town Like Me” isn’t on the album, you should buy it.) and the record­ing I was stream­ing from Nathan Poppe’s Middle of Nowhere playlist is no longer there. There is one YouTube video recorded at Tulsa music venue The Colony, but that seems to be it. (Sidenote: While I was writ­ing this arti­cle Martin told me he was in the stu­dio work­ing on his sec­ond long-​player. He is record­ing the offi­cial stu­dio debut of “You Don’t Know This Town Like Me” for the as-​yet-​untitled album.)

Martin was joined on the Lou’s Rocky Road Tavern stage by Gene Williams on elec­tric gui­tar. An alum­nus of the Stillwater Red Dirt scene, Williams has recently been play­ing with younger Tulsa acts. When he’s not pro­vid­ing great sup­port for singer-​songwriters, he’s writ­ing songs him­self.

Gallery: Dan Martin


About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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