John The Martyr


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July 12, 2018

JOHN THE MARTYR RELEASE NEW SINGLE “CROSS THE LINE” | NYC-BASED COLLECTIVE SET FOR JULY 20th BROOKLYN BOWL HEADLINE SHOW | DEBUT SINGLE “FEELING GOOD” FEATURED ON OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK’S HIT PROGRAM, QUEEN SUGAR

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BIOGRAPHY

New York City is full of stories about the power of paradox pairings- where the attributes of two or more entities create something enduring, new and exciting. Here’s a new one for ya…

Born at the crossroads of good old-fashioned Harlem soul power and next generation New Orleans voodoo, the story of John The Martyr started when a 26-year old NOLA native named Kyle Ridley moved to New York City with best friends, Dustin DiSalvo and Chris Hines, in search of a singer for some new songs he had written. He was getting on the subway one day, and found himself enchanted by 70-year-old Harlem native Bill Hudson who was the lead vocalist in a doo-wop group singing to people as they waited for the train.

“He blew me away,” Kyle recalls. “I grew up listening to artists like The Temptations, The Drifters, and James Brown, so it brought me back home. Everybody was sort of just walking by and going about their day, but I just stood there and watched. I had to reach out.”

Shortly thereafter, Kyle invited Bill to record demos. They bonded instantly and continued to work together on creating some new tunes.

“The first thing I said to him was, ‘I think you should find a younger guy, number one’,” laughs Bill. “I liked what Kyle was putting down though. It had a feeling. It wasn’t generic. There was no classifying it.”

“I just knew we had something special,” recalls Kyle. “I wanted to listen to his voice more and more. When I was growing up, my dad only let us hear his bread-and-butter favorites from the fifties and sixties, so that’s what Bill and I bonded over. He’s a young guy at heart. There was a lot of patience from him, and his wisdom is so crucial to this band. We’re constantly learning from him.”

Kyle later shared the demos he had recorded with Dustin and Chris and John The Martyr was formed. The childhood friends brought together a collective of diverse musicians around Hudson, forming an 11-piece ensemble that started playing regularly around NYC and building a loyal fanbase.

John The Martyr set about rehearsing, cutting demos, and honing their sound in the secret basement of an old church in uptown Manhattan. Says Bill, “We did a lot of woodshedding to get the songs to this point. You could say they were ‘off the rack,’ and we tailored them. It’s been a journey and a wild ride.”

“The chemistry was great,” adds Chris. “There’s a community feeling. There’s just something in the room. Bill is a professional showman with a magnetic personality. He’s 45 years older than me, but you’d never know it.”

Funded by the sale of one of Chris’ paintings, who incidentally created the artwork for the forthcoming album and each of its singles, the group began officially recording their album at Virtue and Vice Studios in Brooklyn with engineers Rocky Gallo and Stephen Davies. They enlisted a cadre of proficient musicians from around the globe to bring the albums 11 songs to life, creating a subtle international flavor that courses through the record’s DNA: Lead Vocals: Bill Hudson (Harlem) Producer / Songwriter / Guitar: Kyle Ridley: (New Orleans) Producer / Drums: Dustin DiSalvo (New Orleans) Producer / Guitar: Chris Hines:(New Orleans) Violin: Kiho Yutaka (Japan) Saxophone: Martin Seiler (Germany) Bass: Mike DeiCont (Canada) and Eva Lawitts (Brooklyn, NY) Viola / Bass: Gabe Valle (Monroe, NY) Trombone: Dillon Garret (Austin, TX) Keyboard: Darren Denman (Las Vegas, NV) Percussion: Missia Vessio (Queens, NY) Cello: Susan Mandel (New York, NY)

“Everybody brings some kind of life experience to this melting pot,” continues Bill. “You don’t really know what’s going to come out.” The first single “Feeling Good” introduces John The Martyr with a one-two punch of Motown heart and New Orleans gusto. “That one lives up to its title,” laughs Bill. “It’s all about feeling good.” Follow Up single “Cross The Line” is a massive freight train of a song, fusing Hudson’s soulful vox - falling somewhere in between Al Green’s rich tenor and Billy Preston’s distinctive inflections - with a modern, driving,  production sensibility.

“History” brings back the spirit of Motown into the modern age, featuring an honest and emotive delivery from Hudson. The song is powerful and inspiring, and its elements converge seamlessly as each individual shines.

The group’s underlying unpredictability bubbles up on the single “Time.” Driven by a bluesy riff, boisterous horns, and a swaggering shuffle, the track quickly ramps up into a funky revivalist swing that proves irresistible as Bill croons, “Time don’t change.” “Dustin and I used to play ‘Time’ instrumentally in New Orleans way back in the day,” says Kyle. “I’d been writing the lyrics from New Orleans to New York. The song is about time being a precious resource that’s always in the back of your mind.”

“Kyle and I had been playing this song for years in my attic,” recalls Dustin. “It’s the funkiest one that we’ve done, and it was crazy the way Bill connected to it. We’re very symbiotic. When Bill got on it, I knew right then and there. It was like all of the stars aligned and made this possible.”

“That one kicks ass,” smiles Bill. “It’s more of a funk thing and speaks to where I’m from. My tone was inflecting James Brown vocally. We’ve given time a humanistic character.”

Then, there’s “Age.” A slow burn of guitar and drums entwine as Bill’s inimitable wail takes the lone spotlight over a smoky swell.

“It speaks of a mortality that I’m very much aware of, because I’ve got more years behind me than I’ve got ahead of me, God bless,” Bill elaborates. “Because we don’t know how long we’ve got on this earth, we’ve got to use it wisely.”

Signed to +1 Records, John The Martyr write the first chapter of their own history with an emotive and classic forthcoming full length debut.

“If listeners know anything about our story, I’d love for them to see how it’s possible to bring people together by way of music,” says Chris. “It’s a basic human thing where we can all find common ground. That’s the hope.”

“I hope you sit back and hear it from top to bottom,” concludes Kyle. “It can make you feel good and move. That’s what this kind of music is supposed to do.”

Bill may say it best: 'It's like a gumbo of good feelings. It's like magic.'

New York City is full of stories about the power of paradox pairings- where the attributes of two or more entities create something enduring, new and exciting. Here’s a new one for ya…

Born at the crossroads of good old-fashioned Harlem soul power and next generation New Orleans voodoo, the story of John The Martyr started when a 26-year old NOLA native named Kyle Ridley moved to New York City with best friends, Dustin DiSalvo and Chris Hines, in search of a singer for some new songs he had written. He was getting on the subway one day, and found himself enchanted by 70-year-old Harlem native Bill Hudson who was the lead vocalist in a doo-wop group singing to people as they waited for the train.

“He blew me away,” Kyle recalls. “I grew up listening to artists like The Temptations, The Drifters, and James Brown, so it brought me back home. Everybody was sort of just walking by and going about their day, but I just stood there and watched. I had to reach out.”

Shortly thereafter, Kyle invited Bill to record demos. They bonded instantly and continued to work together on creating some new tunes.

“The first thing I said to him was, ‘I think you should find a younger guy, number one’,” laughs Bill. “I liked what Kyle was putting down though. It had a feeling. It wasn’t generic. There was no classifying it.”

“I just knew we had something special,” recalls Kyle. “I wanted to listen to his voice more and more. When I was growing up, my dad only let us hear his bread-and-butter favorites from the fifties and sixties, so that’s what Bill and I bonded over. He’s a young guy at heart. There was a lot of patience from him, and his wisdom is so crucial to this band. We’re constantly learning from him.”

Kyle later shared the demos he had recorded with Dustin and Chris and John The Martyr was formed. The childhood friends brought together a collective of diverse musicians around Hudson, forming an 11-piece ensemble that started playing regularly around NYC and building a loyal fanbase.

John The Martyr set about rehearsing, cutting demos, and honing their sound in the secret basement of an old church in uptown Manhattan. Says Bill, “We did a lot of woodshedding to get the songs to this point. You could say they were ‘off the rack,’ and we tailored them. It’s been a journey and a wild ride.”

“The chemistry was great,” adds Chris. “There’s a community feeling. There’s just something in the room. Bill is a professional showman with a magnetic personality. He’s 45 years older than me, but you’d never know it.”

Funded by the sale of one of Chris’ paintings, who incidentally created the artwork for the forthcoming album and each of its singles, the group began officially recording their album at Virtue and Vice Studios in Brooklyn with engineers Rocky Gallo and Stephen Davies. They enlisted a cadre of proficient musicians from around the globe to bring the albums 11 songs to life, creating a subtle international flavor that courses through the record’s DNA:

Lead Vocals: Bill Hudson (Harlem)
Producer / Songwriter / Guitar: Kyle Ridley: (New Orleans)
Producer / Drums: Dustin DiSalvo (New Orleans)
Producer / Guitar: Chris Hines:(New Orleans)
Violin: Kiho Yutaka (Japan)
Saxophone: Martin Seiler (Germany)
Bass: Mike DeiCont (Canada) and Eva Lawitts (Brooklyn, NY)
Viola / Bass: Gabe Valle (Monroe, NY)
Trombone: Dillon Garret (Austin, TX)
Keyboard: Darren Denman (Las Vegas, NV)
Percussion: Missia Vessio (Queens, NY)
Cello: Susan Mandel (New York, NY)

“Everybody brings some kind of life experience to this melting pot,” continues Bill. “You don’t really know what’s going to come out.”

The first single “Feeling Good” introduces John The Martyr with a one-two punch of Motown heart and New Orleans gusto. “That one lives up to its title,” laughs Bill. “It’s all about feeling good.”

Follow Up single “Cross The Line” is a massive freight train of a song, fusing Hudson’s soulful vox – falling somewhere in between Al Green’s rich tenor and Billy Preston’s distinctive inflections – with a modern, driving,  production sensibility.

“History” brings back the spirit of Motown into the modern age, featuring an honest and emotive delivery from Hudson. The song is powerful and inspiring, and its elements converge seamlessly as each individual shines.

The group’s underlying unpredictability bubbles up on the single “Time.” Driven by a bluesy riff, boisterous horns, and a swaggering shuffle, the track quickly ramps up into a funky revivalist swing that proves irresistible as Bill croons, “Time don’t change.” “Dustin and I used to play ‘Time’ instrumentally in New Orleans way back in the day,” says Kyle. “I’d been writing the lyrics from New Orleans to New York. The song is about time being a precious resource that’s always in the back of your mind.”

“Kyle and I had been playing this song for years in my attic,” recalls Dustin. “It’s the funkiest one that we’ve done, and it was crazy the way Bill connected to it. We’re very symbiotic. When Bill got on it, I knew right then and there. It was like all of the stars aligned and made this possible.”

“That one kicks ass,” smiles Bill. “It’s more of a funk thing and speaks to where I’m from. My tone was inflecting James Brown vocally. We’ve given time a humanistic character.”

Then, there’s “Age.” A slow burn of guitar and drums entwine as Bill’s inimitable wail takes the lone spotlight over a smoky swell.

“It speaks of a mortality that I’m very much aware of, because I’ve got more years behind me than I’ve got ahead of me, God bless,” Bill elaborates. “Because we don’t know how long we’ve got on this earth, we’ve got to use it wisely.”

Signed to +1 Records, John The Martyr write the first chapter of their own history with an emotive and classic forthcoming full length debut.

“If listeners know anything about our story, I’d love for them to see how it’s possible to bring people together by way of music,” says Chris. “It’s a basic human thing where we can all find common ground. That’s the hope.”

“I hope you sit back and hear it from top to bottom,” concludes Kyle. “It can make you feel good and move. That’s what this kind of music is supposed to do.”

Bill may say it best: ‘It’s like a gumbo of good feelings. It’s like magic.’

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Contact

Perry Serpa // perry@tellallyourfriendspr.com
River Hooks // river@tellallyourfriendspr.com