About the Band

Shane Martin is quickly becoming one of the top draws in the Midwest with a unique blend of modern country rock routinely performing over 150 shows per year. From sharing the stage with numerous national acts to captivating audiences at festivals or in a packed venue, Shane Martin concerts are a high energy good time that gets crowds on their feet dancing, singing along and always leave them wanting more… 

About Shane Martin

While country-rock fans are singing and dancing along to “Whatever Floats Your Boat,” the infectious, freewheeling first single from Shane Martin’s new EP Til The Wheels Fall Off, the Minnesota based singer/songwriter saves his most heartfelt, soul-bearing moments for the two tracks that bookend the recording and double as the artist’s ongoing spiritual and musical mission statements. On the high energy opener “I Am What I Am,” he sings, “Music has been my life since I can remember when…That spirit is living out of my control.” On the closing title song, he looks toward the future: “What lies ahead’s wide open like a picture that never stops/I’m gonna ride this life, til the wheels fall off.”

Considering the journey Martin has been on these past years, and the dynamic relationship he’s developed with his ever-expanding fan base, who can fault him for being so excited and inspired? A Top 5 Finalist in the 2012 Texaco Country Showdown where he competed for “Best New Act in Country Music” at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium (hosted by LeAnn Rimes), Martin is now up to a breakneck pace of 175 regional shows per year. Martin’s live band is a group of talented veteran musicians that has performed at some of the top country music festivals in the country, including Moondance Country Jam, Rockwoods Jamfest and Winstock.  The group has shared the stage with a wide variety of top artists, including Ronnie Dunn, Joe Nichols , Jerrod Niemann, David Nail, Josh Thompson, Easton Corbin, Greg Bates and Black Hawk. 

When he’s not out performing with his full ensemble - the usual setup for the annual summer whirlwind of outdoor country festivals, street dances and fairs – Martin is taking care of business on his own, earning his amazing longtime rep as the “One Man Band.” Performing acoustic guitar driven versions of his eclectic mix of country/rock/pop tunes, high octane rockers and soulful ballads, he uses his feet to play bass pedals and tambourine. In recent years, he’s also added a loop pedal to add extra rhythm via an additional acoustic guitar line. He also plays harmonica and auxiliary bongos. – with nothing pre-recorded!

“The great things about the one man band option are the uniqueness of it, and the opportunity it allows for intimacy with the crowd,” says Martin, who estimates he plays 60% of his shows this way. “The set list is also more open, so people can request the songs they like. I also have fun playing in and out of tunes and twisting them up. The coolest thing is when people come up to me during the break and say when they came in, they thought a four piece band was playing. They didn’t realize I was just one person up there. But I also love playing with my band because I’m able to move around with my guitars onstage and be more energetic. I’m able to focus a lot on my showmanship.

“Whether I’m jamming with my band or presenting the music in this unique solo setting, I truly enjoy singing, performing, entertaining crowds and connecting with an audience,” he adds. “Connecting with people is what songs and live music are all about. There’s nothing like the feeling of watching as a crowd sings along to your songs. There’s an infectious energy that pours from the stage to the audience and back to the stage again. Music is in my heart and soul and I honestly love sharing it.”

Martin launched his solo recording career with several well received self-produced projects. The first was Moody Waters, a six song acoustic EP whose track “She Could Cry in Heaven” appeared on TV’s The Young and the Restless. The singer’s follow-up Thread was co-produced and recorded with Levi Seacer from Prince’s New Power Generation and included the song “White Fences” that was featured on the soundtrack to a Michael Wilson documentary. While developing his solo career, the singer also fronted the band Faith Nation.

Martin’s evolution into the trailblazing country rocker he is today began with a 2009 trip to Nashville, where he enrolled in a songwriting seminar and struck up a powerful friendship and creative partnership with Emmy winning recording engineer and producer Kenny Royster. Royster, whose Direct Image Studio is home to some of the world’s most innovative artists, musicians, songwriters and record labels, perfectly sums up Martin’s vibe: “Shane is a great singer/songwriter on the teetering edge of country, pop and rock, where it’s just dangerous enough to be fun.”

The two began working together on Rewind (2010) and Light It Up (2012), which Royster produced. With Rewind, Martin says, “I finally found my sound and writing style and started to dig deep into my songs, getting back to my small town roots and experiences. It felt natural to write from more of a storytelling aspect and modern country style.” After writing Rewind by himself, Martin took a new approach and began collaborating with other writers, including several in the Nashville area – a powerful transition that has taken his songwriting and vibe as an artist to an exciting new level. While staying at the helm behind the boards, Royster began co-writing with the singer on Til The Wheels Fall Off. 

“To me, the process of recording a CD in a studio is one of the most exciting parts about being an artist, just being part of songs coming alive in ways I could never have imagined when I first wrote them,” Martin says. “That’s what feeds the fire. Til The Wheels Fall Off includes some of the best songs and recordings I’ve released so far. I can feel and hear the growth from previous recordings. I’ve never been more confident in my voice and performing, and my band is kickin’ ass better than ever.”

Growing up in the small town of Albertville,  Minnesota (30 miles Northwest of Minneapolis), Martin learned early on the meaning of hard work and family and spent his summers helping out at his uncle's on the Martin family farm. While learning to play piano at a young age, he also found himself singing along to songs by everyone from Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi to Led Zeppelin. Even before he started playing (by ear) the electric guitar his brother got one year for Christmas, he remembers biking up to a friend’s house and singing with his friend’s brother’s rock band. By necessity, he also learned to play bass. Martin soon found himself starting a rock band with friends from school and practicing to play a few club shows and house parties. His passion began shifting from rock into country rock when he heard the way superstars like Garth Brooks and Keith Urban fused the two genres to create their trademark sounds.

Martin’s skills as a songwriter developed naturally. “I would hear melodies, choruses, and song inspirations in my head,” he says. “I then felt compelled to create and put my thoughts and sounds into a song format. I always gravitated toward great songs and melodies, no matter what style.  Country music is all about great songs and stories within them - and who doesn't love a good story? My music taste and style developed over the years through performing, and I came to find my voice in country while incorporating my rock influences.

“Country music feels right at home for me,” Martin adds. “I grew up in a small town, lived on a dirt road and worked summers at the Martin family farm. I don't sport a cowboy hat, but I'm a country boy at heart. My music is as real and honest as I am as a person, and I’m driven by my passion to write and sing songs from the heart that move people. I live and breathe to perform and entertain with authentic good vibe energy and I strive to leave a crowd wanting more. As I’m basically saying in the song ‘Til The Wheels Fall Off,’ I’ll keep singing and performing until my voice is fried out and my hands can’t strum a guitar chord. And even then I’m sure I’ll find a way to keep making music.”   

Shane Martin - short bio

The title of Shane Martin’s latest EP tells it all about where he’s been and the places he’s headed: he’s “gonna ride this life” and play his powerhouse brand of country rock Til The Wheels Fall Off. A Top 5 Finalist in the 2012 Texaco Country Showdown where he competed for “Best New Act in Country Music” at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium (hosted by LeAnn Rimes), the Minnesota based singer/songwriter is now up to a breakneck pace of 175 regional shows per year.

Fronting his full ensemble, Martin has performed at some of the top country music festivals in the country and shared the stage with everyone from Ronnie Dunn, Joe Nichols and Jerrod Niemann to David Nail, Josh Thompson, Easton Corbin, Greg Bates and Black Hawk. But with his amazing longtime rep as the “One Man Band,” he’s also a powerhouse performer on his own. Performing acoustic guitar driven versions of his eclectic mix of country/rock/pop tunes, high octane rockers and soulful ballads, he uses his feet to play bass pedals and tambourine. In recent years, he’s also added a loop pedal to add extra rhythm via an additional acoustic guitar line. He also plays harmonica and auxiliary bongos – with nothing pre-recorded!

Currently one of the top live draws throughout the Midwest, his modern country rock vibe is perfectly described by his longtime producer and now co-writer, Emmy Award wining engineer/producer Kenny Royster: “Shane is a great singer/songwriter on the teetering edge of country, pop and rock where it’s just dangerous enough to be fun!” 

BUZZ

Texaco Country Showdown top 5 finalist 2012
. Regional winner competed in the Finals for $100,000 and the National Title "Best New Act in Country Music" at the world-famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN hosted by LeAnn Rimes

SingerUniverse “Best Vocalist Of The Month” Competition Nov. 2012, for his performance of his song “As Long As It Takes”http://www.singeruniverse.com/competition-winner-98-123.htm

"Just Me Missing You"  was selected as a Finalist in the 2012 14th Annual Great American Song Contest.  Over 1600 songwriters from 45 countries around the world entered the 2012 contest.
http://www.greatamericansong.com/honorary.html


Grand Prize winner of DSA song contest 2011: After winning the Country category in the 2011 Dallas Songwriters Association’s international song contest, Shane’s song “No Hard Feelings” won out over the top three winners from each of the contest’s eight categories.
 
PDS Entertainment, LLC has announced that Shane Martin is the winner of its Hottest New Artist (R) Winner for 2011. The country music artist swept the contest with his winning song, “Somewhere Real.” 

Top ten finalist for Best Male Artist with the song “Somewhere Real” in the 7th annual IAMA 2011 (International Acoustic Music Awards). 

"Something About Your Way"  was selected as a Finalist in the 2010 12th Annual Great American Song Contest.  Over 1600 songwriters from 45 countries around the world entered the 2010 contest.
 
The Song of the Year songwriting contest has awarded Shane Martin the Suggested Artist placement with his song "Grateful". Song of the Year receives entries from all over the world and only the top songwriters receive a Suggested Artist placement in the songwriting competition.
www.songoftheyear.com 
 

Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Regional finalist (12 state mid-west region) 2010 - Mountain Stage NewSong Contest.


“She Could Cry In Heaven” 
from Shane’s Moody Waters e.p. was featured on CBS’s
- The Young and the Restless

 

Shawn Kolles

Shawn Kolles (drums, vocals) began playing drums when he was in fourth grade.  He played his first gig at age 12 and by high school was regularly performing with groups that ranged from rock to folk to even a German polka band.  He has been playing drums with his cousin Shane since they were just kids at their Grandma's farm.  
Shawn studied percussion at theUniversity ofWisconsin, Steven's Point and earned his bachelor's degree in Music Education from theUniversity ofMinnesota.  An accomplished percussionist, he  has performed marimba internationally and has taught percussion and drum-set lessons for the past 20 years.  Now in his 15th year of teaching, Shawn has taught high school band, middle school band and orchestra, directed marching bands and instructed drumlines. He holds a master's degree in Conducting from Southern Oregon University.  His first love will always be the drum set and he gigs every chance he can get.

Mike May

Mike May (bass, harmony vocals) delivers a driving, groove-oriented style on the 5-string bass. From an early age, Mike has always been motivated to learn new things and expand his musical horizons. A pivotal moment came in attending a summer songwriting program in Boston at the Berklee College of Music as a teenager. Upon his return home to Minnesota, Mike decided to keep his focus on music instead of trying out for high school sports. Many hours spent learning 80’s rock songs paid off, combined with years of formal training through school and individual lessons. To date, Mike has performed hundreds of shows throughout the region, a journey from small bars, to fairs, festivals, and large concert stages. He is thrilled for the opportunity to help build on Shane Martin Band's continued success.

On stage, Mike proudly uses Fender and Music Man USA basses, Aguilar Amplification, EBS Effects, Ernie Ball Strings, and Action Custom Straps.

Brad Nelson

"Brad Nelson (lead guitar, vocals) began taking piano lessons at age nine and soon began playing guitar and bass. He played in his first band at age 12, and during high school continued to play in various groups and ensembles, as well as performing solo classical guitar. Brad attended Wheaton College (IL) where earned a bachelor's degree in music while continuing to perform various styles (contemporary gospel, folk, rock, blues, and jazz), teach lessons, and do session work in several Chicago-area recording studios. In the late '70s, he was a founding member of the band "Aslyn" that performed original rock in the Chicago area.  In 1980 he moved to the Twin Cities where he performed for five years with the Top-40 band "Prophecy", and taught guitar lessons in several local teaching studios. Currently, in addition to playing with Shane Martin, Brad serves part-time as director of a church worship band."fun fact ... "Favorite beverages are Caribou Mocha with Dark Chocolate and Summit Extra Pale Ale (in that order)."