The partnership between Joe Martinez and Gus Guthrie began in 2004 when Joe was invited to sit in on drums with the Northern Virginia band, NoBetterOff, in which Gus is the singer and guitar player. After a Friday night of music, a few beers and a lot of talk, Joe left and began imagining the possibilities of bringing Gus’s voice to his collection of original tunes. A conversation turned into collaboration, and the project that became Martinez and Guthrie’s Gathering Change began.
In his spare time from his public school teaching job, Joe began meticulously layering track after track of guitars, drums, bass, accordion, mandolin, and percussion to create the instrumental foundation for Gus’s vocals. With his portable recording rig, they met where they could find time and space…a spare bedroom, a basement corner…trying to get an honest, direct sound. Two years in the making, Gathering Change was released on Joe’s self-created music label, NeZrecords, in December 2006.
Songs from Gathering Change almost immediately began receiving airplay, and have been heard regularly for years on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and the internet’s Radio Paradise, as well as many college and local radio stations from Alaska, to Arizona, to Maine. Songs also made their way into promos on NBC, an award-winning bank commercial campaign, shows on the CW Network and in the 2010 Micheal Douglas film Solitary Man.
Spring 2011 saw the release of M&G’s sophomore release, Still Here. While this album saw a much more collaborative approach with Guthrie penning the lyrics to songs such as Tipping Point and You Could Be The Cure, their approach to recording remained the same.
The Puerto Rican born, Northern Virginia raised Martinez spent his teens writing, arranging and playing straight ahead rock and roll with his brother. Several original acoustic projects with other artists followed as he continued to hone and develop his passion for composing, collaborating, and recording. It has been the ‘usual suspects’ from the world of rock and acoustic/folk music that have set the foundation of influences for Martinez while the rhythms of Jamaica, Africa, Cuba and Puerto Rico continue to come to the surface.
Guthrie, a middle school art teacher by day, has been playing guitar and singing for better than 30 years. He fronts the acoustic roots band NoBetterOff, which plays blues, bluegrass, alt-country covers and originals. His musical heroes include Ry Cooder, Steve Earle, and Buddy Miller. In addition to making music, Gus is teaching himself to build musical instruments, and plays a mandolin he built himself.