Stephen B. Martin wrote his first song at the age of sixteen.  Ironically, it was titled When I was Young.  And although he has been writing strange and beautiful songs for 36 years, he has just completed his first full-length, solo recording, Oroboros.  The songs of Oroboros sample a body of work that encompasses a writhing continent, the turning of the millennium and the abyss between laughter and tears.

Stephen began his performance career in the mid-60s as a regular at the Y-NOT coffeehouse in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts.  He flew to San Francisco in 1967 to join in the Haight-Ashbury summer of love.   When he returned to Worcester he conceived and nurtured into reality Congress Alley, the controversial creative community that spawned artists like Orpheus, Clean Living and the original J. Geils Blues Band.

Of course he wrote about it; Orpheus recorded Congress Alley on the first album.  They eventually released thirteen of Stephen's songs - he sang lead on several of them.  Others covered Congress Alley - Clean Living (Vanguard), Alan Lorber (MGM/Verve) and Congress Alley (Avco), a group that actually named itself after the song.  Martin originals have also been recorded  by: Jaime Brockett (Capitol), Gregory Havrilak (UA) and Terrance O'Sullivan (Ind.).

In 1971, to avoid incarceration, Stephen moved to Amherst, MA.  Upon the demise of Orpheus, he continued playing backed by Orpheus bassist Howard Hersch and South African mandolin player Bob "Honey Bear" Denton, with whom he toured New York state, Ontario and Michigan.

He moved back to San Francisco in 1973, where he performed with Robin Sinclair's Rescue, cult-rockers Charles Biscuit Band, and country singer Rebecca West.

Always politically involved, Stephen was arrested in 1983 with clown-activist Wavy Gravy while blockading Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.   He also joined with the democratic Workers Party in resisting U.S. intervention in El Salvador.

The '90s found Stephen back in New England again.  Since his return he has produced a series of independent releases.  Recipe from 1991 (Martin, MacKay and Schell) is an experimental expedition into what he calls "country-folk-rock-a-billy-rhythym 'n blues".  In 1995 there was Ball Peen Platter (Noisy Revolution Records), a green vinyl EP featuring electric music on one side and acoustic on the other. 

Oroboros was produced by Stephen's long-time friend Jaime Brockett.  Engineered by Chris Biggi at Sunset Ridge Recording studios in Hampton Falls, NH, Martin describes the sound as "big folk."

 

The music on Oroboros displays Martin's eclectic nature. Traditional-sounding folk songs are joined by experimentational rock.
Noah Schaffer, Worchester Magazine '00

With "Oroboros," Martin proves he has plenty to say and he does so with style.
Scott McLennan, Worchester Telegram & Gazette '00

Sailors' Ghosts is a haunting music video . . . the song's lyrics portray Hull in winter when:
"The carousel is silent now,
The summer people gone away,
Before the winter storms hurl sailors' ghosts,
Howling down these widowed streets again."
Hull Times  '97

Ball Peen Platter... a D.I.Y. effort true to the freewheeling 60's.
Brian Goslow, Worcester Phoenix  '96

A singular, gutsy approach to songwriting.
Scott McLennan, Worcester Telegram  '96

Old School with a legend twist - great for huffing!
Barnaclehead  '95

His re-entry into the world of music has been heralded with tremendous enthusiasm by those . . . who are in the know about Martin's talent.
Amy Zuckerman, Worcester Magazine  '91

Sometimes spring is a long time coming, but it's always welcome.
Walter Crockett, Datebook '91

Proud Woman could vie with the likes of Marty Balin's With your Love for AM airplay and the hearts of 15 year old female groupies.
Sue Haley, San Francisco BAM  '77

He can take regular chords, put them together in an unusual fashion and still retain a good melody.
Elaine Prostak, Evening Gazette  '69

Congress Alley has been immortalized in song by its "poet laureate."
Jack Tubert, Worcester Telegram '68


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Email: oroboros@stephenbmartin.com

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