Maine entertainer Barney Martin will perform a variety of songs in a James Taylor Tribute Show to be livestreamed at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, from the stage of Johnson Hall in Hallowell. SYSTEM

Maine entertainer Barney Martin will perform a variety of songs in a James Taylor Tribute Show to be livestreamed at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, from the stage of Johnson Hall in Hallowell.

Barney Martin picked up his first guitar at the age of 13 – an ole Sears-Roebucks clunker his older brother left for junk sitting in the back of a closet. The broken tuning keys that tune the strings needed vice-grip pliers to be turned … he eventually earned enough to acquire a Gibson Hummingbird. All tips received from this show will go to restoring this gem that was sat on in 1982 and rendered unplayable.

Although this began a lifetime of playing the guitar, “the stage,” performing in musicals, was also introduced to him by his English/Drama teacher and mentor – Burt deFrees (also to Randy Judkins’). As a freshman playing a character that had one line in Acts 1 and 2 in “Finian’s Rainbow,” turned into the lead role of the King of Siam in “The King and I” the following year. Theatre performance/American history/secondary education was what Martin pursued in college.

As a solo acoustic performer, he played across the country, the Bahamas, England/France. As an actor, he performed in a British Isles touring theatre group as well as a guest performer in an Acadian folk music and dance troupe touring central France. He has produced one CD of original songs titled “Fallen” and also wrote the title cut of a collection of sea songs brought together as a fundraiser for fisherman’s families in his grandfather’s ancestral home of the North Cape PEI Canada called “Life of a Fisherman.”

Throughout his singing career, he has performed lead off to Livingston Taylor – during one of those times invited to sing a duet with Livingston in his show called “Citylights” – a song Livingston recorded with his brother James.

Martin has been a duet act, including one with his singer Greg Chastain and brother Michael which they called “Common Ground.” Harmonies are his addiction and came out of high school performing with “Full Sail” (Mark Nordli, Claire [Bureau] Sullivan, and Carole Wise). Most notable was with a 17-year trio “Coos Canyon” (Dan Merrill, Brian Johnson) with harmonies that rivaled any of the big-name bands (CSN, Eagles, etc). The trio turned to full band was named after a swimming hole on the Swift River in Byron Maine that Martin frequented as a teenager. Coos Canyon most notably got to lead off Eddie Money in concert.


In “on camera” projects, most notable were the several Maine and New England commercials (Handyman Tools, Megabucks) he did from the early 90s for 10+ years, even a feature film role in the indy film “Liberty Maine” performing a scene with Eric Close (“Without a Trace”). He had a walk-on role in the TV movie of the week “A Case of Deadly Force” in Boston which he scored by having run into fellow actor John Shea (“Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman”) in Boston. Shea and Martin had the same theatre teacher at different times in college (New England College). Look for Martin being himself in a customer testimonial for an upcoming ad for Prime Honda Saco.

As an entertainer, Martin was invited by legendary vaudevillian performer Randy Judkins along with Steve Underwood to form Randy’s brainchild “The Maine Hysterical Society.” They performed for 12 years giving audience members “humor hangovers” – including Lucy Arnaz who invited the Hystericals to perform in a show she had at Birdland in New York City.

Now in his 60s and almost calling it quits, Martin was persuaded by his friends Don Campbell and Paul Pappas that he had a little left in his tank and return to a solo acoustic act once again. Martin has a thing for James Taylor’s music and has looked into some details in Taylor’s early life. Other artists of a similar nature fill out his setlist along with originals.

The performance will be filmed live at Johnson Hall and broadcast over the internet to all who have the ticket link. Each unique link will be sent out through email on the day of the show to ticket holders. Each ticket purchased covers your household.

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