Rockland Road is many things. It’s a street near Nashville. It’s a studio where countless hit records have been recorded. It is a crossroads where country, gospel, pop, R&B and Americana music has thrived for years. It is a self-contained vocal-driven melodic band with a heritage as rich and authentic as its namesake. Six members, all sharing the last name Martin; representing four generations of musical heritage; all vocalists who, between them, play 23 instruments. Rockland Road is a powerhouse of soulful vocals blended with a pure, exuberant joy worthy of the literal and figurative blood that flows through their veins making them a family.
According to a press release from MaryLou Vandevente, administrator of the Chillicothe Area Arts Council, the group began singing together in 2010. Fueled by a mutual passion for many genres and longing for a fun, family-friendly musical experience for their kids, Paul and Jamie Martin began singing together in 2010 with their four children: March, Kell, Texas and Tallant, Vandeventer wrote. Quickly realizing that the kids all showed an uncanny knack for hearing harmonies, as well as for playing instruments, they began performing shows together.
“Our house has always been like a live jukebox, with an all-you-can-play selection of musical instruments,” Jamie said. “Music completely engulfs our lives, so our kids have never known a day without it. And that’s just how they want it.”
“We are a real family, at home or on the road, and we knew there would be an unpredictable nature to working with our kids. But they were just filled with passion, truly breathing through the music we were creating,” Paul added. “It’s a given that we’re proud of them as parents, but, very quickly, we found ourselves appreciating the musical talent and the vocal skills that they contribute as fellow performers, not just as our kids. There was no other choice; we knew we had to do this with them.”
So where did it all begin? Grammy-winning artist Paul Martin, the lead singer/guitarist of country-pop supergroup Exile, met and married Jamie Allen, daughter of Duane Allen of Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys. Individually and collectively, they were exposed early to a rich musical existence, and Paul and Jamie watched as each child demonstrated God-given musical talents early on. Regional performances began to boom, leading to appearances on national television shows like “The Huckabee Show,” The Oak Ridge Boys’ American Legion Christmas special, “The Marty Stuart Show,” “Country’s Family Reunion,” “Gaither Homecoming,” and “Larry’s Country Diner.” They’ve taken their stage show to venues as varied as the U.S. Library of Congress, the Country Music Cruise, the Grand Ole Opry, the White House, and countless fairs, festivals and performing arts centers across the country. Additionally, they’ve performed the National Anthem for many major NBA, MLB, and NCAA sporting events, including the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers. After a rousing performance of “Elvira” to a packed house for The Oak Ridge Boys’ 2015 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Billboard Magazine heralded them as “singing to the rafters,” getting a crowd of seasoned performers and music industry folks to their feet.
“They see every night spent onstage not just as a time to spread the simple joy they get from music. It’s not just another chance to share their songs and story,” Vandeventer said. “Every night is a blessed opportunity to take a new audience for a musical ride down the curving country backroads, the high-speed superhighways, and the crowded city streets that have all converged to create the music known as RArts Council’s annual, Event at Locust & Ann the evening of Feb. 8. “It’s a wonderful event—“up close with the Artists”. The event will feature the group “all-acoustic” and will include appetizers and coffee, tea $25 per person or table of (8) $150. Reservations requested but not required,” Vandeventer said.
The group will also do a performance at 3 p.m., on Feb. 9 as part of the Arts Council’s Season Shows at the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center. Box Office opens 2 p.m. Tickets for adults $20; students K-College, $10; Season Ticket Holders free with a season ticket.
For more information, call the Arts Office 660-646-1173.