September 7, 2006

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Singing, drinking & weeding
Relax with the Martini Gardeners
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

What better way to do the mundane task of trimming the hedges than with a Martini in hand — just ask Bob Jr. and the Martini Gardeners, who will tell you the same.

The inspirational story of where the band gets its name can be found on the Web site (basically, if gardening alone doesn’t calm your nerves, the addition of a martini will do the trick). As for the music, it’s a sound that’s been in the making for a while, starting with Bob Walker, Jr.

Walker is a singer and songwriter from New Durham and also holds the offices of president of the Manchester Local 349 of the American Federation of Musicians and vice president of the New England Conference of the AFM. He works as a freelance guitarist but his biggest project is the forming of the Martini Gardeners.

He’s been working on the lyrics and music for the recently released album, Not Like Myself, but was missing that one fundamental element behind the music – the band. Now, with the Martini Gardeners, Walker has his band, which he describes as “a pick-up band that was meant to be,” and the album that he’s been waiting for. Audiences have compared the sound of the Martini Gardeners to John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Rusted Root.

“As the songwriter, I had the basis of the songs together and as we (the band) started putting them together for the album, we kind of started to formulate our sound. What we ended up with was almost even better. We were looking for something that had a groove, something with a catch to it, to make it kind of a fun, light rock sound – something that you could enjoy listening to while drinking a martini,” Walker said.

The band members, coming from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences, brought to the album more than Walker had originally envisioned. Walker takes on lead vocals and guitar. The bass player, Zach Smith, came from the University of New Hampshire. The drummer, George Reagan, who Walker has worked with in the past, comes from a jazz and theater background. The backup vocalist, Emily Caporello, who replied to an ad Walker placed, was an a cappella singer.

“If I changed the lineup, it would definitely change the sound of the band. The bassist comes from a rock and funk background so his lines kind of follow that and the drums tend to drive the groove. What I was expecting as backup vocal parts from Emily ended up coming out front a lot and becoming their own lines. I really liked how it turned out and a lot of the songs turned out better than I had envisioned, just based on the diverse background of the band,” Walker said.


Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com

Please Garden responsibly
The Martini Gardeners celebrated the release of their first album, Not Like Myself, in late August. It’s available online at cdbaby.com/cd/bjrtmg and can be heard at myspace.com/martinigardeners. The band’s Web site is www.bobjrsmusic.com.
Catch them at the Borders in Concord (76 Fort Eddy Road, 224-1255) on Friday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m.