Martin Alex Aucoin Martin Alex Aucoin is a multi-faceted musician with a host of influences. As a keyboard player, he has soaked up styles ranging from jazz greats Wynton Kelley and Ray Charles, to Leon Russell and down home Southern recording aces Hargus "Pig" Robbins and Barry Beckett. As a songwriter, he has filtered Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Hank Williams, Duke Ellington, Mose Allison, Cole Porter and more. Originally from Cape Breton, Martin grew up with Acadian folk songs, Celtic fiddle music, country music, and whatever was on AM radio in the late 60's and 70's. Seeing a clip on television of Joe Cocker and Leon Russell performing "The Letter" from the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour proved to be an epiphany. He soon began to play chords on the family piano, which prior to that had held little interest. Not long after, he was learning tunes by the Beatles, Burt Bacharach, and other pop songs of the day. By the end of high school he developed an interest in jazz through Dave Brubek and Duke Ellington records. After an aborted stint in the Canadian Armed Forces, he decided to study music seriously and enrolled in Toronto's famed Humber College music program. Essentially a jazz program, Martin studied piano, orchestration, and arranging. He supported himself through school by playing local gigs, and upon graduation, immersed himself in the bustling blues/R&B scene in Toronto. Playing with Juno award winners Morgan Davis and Jack DeKeyser, he was also playing on country sessions in local studios. Becoming increasingly disenchanted with Toronto and the Canadian music business in general, Martin moved to Nashville, TN in 1990. His main goal at the time was to be a studio session player and also to learn the craft of songwriting. Initially Nashville was not very welcoming. Moving there cold, with no contacts was a challenging experience. He found work in local night clubs, backing singers of varying talents. The hours were long, the pay was short, and the musicianship superb. Eventually, he landed a job with one of his favorite singers from his childhood, BJ Thomas. Lasting a year and a half, BJ remains Martin's only long term road gig. From Hawaii to Alaska, California to New York, and many stops in between, it was a whirlwind experience marked by breath-taking views of the USA and bone-crushing boredom on airplanes, buses, and in hotel rooms. Returning to Nashville, Martin set upon the task of breaking down the studio session door. He supported himself by going back to nightclubs and playing radio shows on the weekend. He was Musical Director on an amateur show airing out of Russellville KY, called "Live at Libby's" and was part of the Grand Ol' Opry radio/tv show for 4 years, playing with the great Cajun singer, Jimmy C. Newman. Hanging out backstage at the Opry was an unforgettable time with many of Martin's country session heroes sharing stories about the great records they had played on. Demo sessions began to come in and Martin played on countless songs that were recorded by country greats Garth Brooks, George Strait, John Michael Montgomery and more of the current Nashville stars. He also squeezed in some stage time with jazz great Larry Carlton, funkster Tony Joe White, Johnny Gimble (from the Bob Wills band), country-jazz fiddler Vassar Clements, Ricky Van Shelton, and others. He raised a small stir when he got a job playing in a Black Baptist church just across the Davidson county line in Lavergne, Tn. Local white church members came to a service at the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church and brazenly offered him a job at their church. He politely declined, enjoying the gospel groove of his African-American friends more than just about anything. Family matters brought Martin back to Toronto in 2000, and he re-integrated himself in the Toronto music scene. Remaining true to his musical split personality, he found himself in blues/R&B Bands, playing on country sessions, doing the odd jazz gig and writing sardonic and heartfelt songs suited to a country man living in the city. The beat goes on...........