What do you do when you’re a singer-songwriter on the go without a band, and with no prospects of finding one soon? You find one anyway, even if the other members are thousands of miles apart.
That was Hailey rocker Kelly Martin’s idea back in 2008 after he left the Boise acoustic rock band CrashFour, which disbanded in 2008 after 10 years together, having performed more than 400 shows and produced four albums.
When the band dispersed, Martin married fellow band member and violinist Rebecca Gourley, and set off with her on a cross-country adventure, moving from Boise to North Carolina, Texas and eventually Hailey.
The singer-songwriter was still writing music, but because he and Rebecca moved around so much, it was difficult to form a band.
“I always tell people that finding the right band members is like trying to find the right husband or wife. There is a musical connection that few understand,” Martin said. “Sometimes it takes a while to find the right fit.”
He began to explore other options, eventually finding an online community called GrooveZoo that allowed him to collaborate with musicians all around the world.
GrooveZoo is a free collaboration site specifically designed for musicians and songwriters. It allows people to collaborate with or hire musicians, mixing engineers and mastering engineers to produce music that is ready for sale or licensing. It also allows people to easily find or match with other members, transfer recording files, post session discussions and manage contracts.
Martin uploaded his song “Stop and Drop It” to the site, and Leandro Chernicharo, a guitarist from Rio de Janeiro, contacted him to say he liked the song and wanted to add to it.
“I really liked his material and wanted to be a part of it,” Chernicharo said. “Creating songs over the internet is a great way to work with people you may never have had the chance of working with before.”
Chernicharo enhanced Martin’s song by adding a guitar hook, leads and rhythm.
“From that point, I realized that I could still record full band songs even if I didn’t have a live band to work with,” Martin said.
Martin’s musical sojourns in cyberspace eventually gave birth to The Haywire Hopeful recording project, which comprised Martin on vocals and Chernicharo on guitar, as well as Smokey Fennell, a steel guitar player from Edmonton, Alberta, and Jay Carros, a drummer from New York City.
Martin also used Facebook to contact musicians he knew who also added to the recordings, including Rob Hill, a bassist from Boise; Harley Wright, a drummer from Boise and one of CrashFour’s original drummers; John D. Stefan, a drummer, guitarist, keyboardist and bassist from Boise; and Rebecca Martin, his wife, a violinist from Twin Falls and original CrashFour member.
The 10 songs, all of which Martin wrote, recorded by the group online make up the bulk of the new album “About That Time,” the debut album of Martin’s band that grew out of the recording project.
From cyberspace to face to face
Martin and his wife moved to Hailey in 2010, while he was still recording with people online. Martin made one music video per month for 10 months of the songs he’d written, and posted them on his website. Soon, The Haywire Hopefuls band would begin coalescing in person.
Martin met Haywire Hopefuls lead guitarist Harry Schultz in 2015 at open mic night at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Bellevue.
“[Schultz] was a great guitarist, and I kept a mental note that if I ever started a live band, he would be at the top of my list,” Martin said.
A few weeks later, he and Rebecca met Haywire Hopefuls drummer John Thomas while playing an acoustic set at diVine Wine Bar in Hailey. Thomas had just moved to the area from Maine.
“My usual line when I meet new people is, ‘Do you play bass or drums?’ To my surprise, he was the first person to ever say yes,” Martin said. “I finally felt that I met the right people to start a band.”
The quartet began practicing the songs that Martin had recorded online with Chernicharo, Fennell and Carros. Since meeting Thomas and Schultz, the four-person live Haywire Hopefuls have penned four more songs together, which are on the album as well.
“Being in a band is very time-consuming, so we never know who will be available to play the live shows or who will be on the recordings,” Martin said. “That’s where the name comes from. Trying to make it all happen can go very haywire and we are hopeful that it will come together in one form or another.”
Martin said the band’s sound has been compared to that of Live and the Dave Matthews Band, though Martin said the sound will probably be transformed the more they write and play together, especially considering the eclectic musical backgrounds that the others bring to the table—Schultz and Thomas bring elements of funk and blues and even math rock to the table.
“The more we write together as a band, the more I believe our sound will evolve,” Martin said.
Martin also said the group has begun playing with Ellen Sanders from Oakland, Calif., a cellist with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, whose cello music meshes well with Rebecca’s violin.
And while The Haywire Hopefuls’ live concerts will be performed by the quartet who met in the valley, the songs they play—and “About That Time” itself—will carry the contributions from Chernicharo and the others who jammed with Martin on GrooveZoo.
“We plan to write and record the next album this winter and release it next summer,” Martin said.
“About That Time” is available on most online music stores such as iTunes and at the band’s live shows. The band performed at the Boise Music Festival on June 24, and will play at the Wicked Spud in Hailey on Wednesday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m. For more info, visit its website at www.haywirehopefuls.com.
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