Nashville recording artist Pete Martinez has been playing genuine country music since he was four years old.
Pete was born and raised in Casper, Wyo. His father placed a guitar in his young son’s hands and imparted the family’s love of country music legends Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins and many more. Some of Pete’s favorite childhood memories are of his parents calling him in from playing outside with the rest of the kids to perform in the living room for friends and extended family.
Pete’s fondness for being on stage has not diminished as he enjoys bringing his Western brand of country music to the people, and he has continued to hone his craft and his standout vocal ability. Pete draws from his upbringing and Western experience to share a deep appreciation of the values and traditions of the Rocky Mountain region. Together with the Nashville-sound, he creates a unique presence of authenticity, possible only from life experience in horse, livestock and rodeo cultures.
These and his stage presence have garnered invitations for Pete to perform in several countries around the world, including England, France, Sweden, Italy and Argentina as well as throughout the United States. In 2005, Pete played at the Inaugural Ball in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., as well as at the Vice President’s residence. A former bull rider himself, Pete has also performed for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (PRCA), the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) and the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR).
An entertaining musician and showman, Pete gives concerts both with a full band as well as a solo act. He has shared billing in concert with notable musicians such as Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton, Mark Chestnutt, Ricochet, Red Steagall and Baxter Black. Pete was also honored to be chosen to perform a tribute to fellow Wyomingite, Chris LeDoux, who was a country music singer-songwriter and rodeo champion, upon his passing.
Even when Pete started a band as a high school student, he had a loyal, hometown grassroots following that formed the foundation for his career in country music. During college, at the University of Wyoming, he performed as a duo and continued to perform in Colorado after graduating from Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. Pete then became the house performer at the Denver Buffalo Company in 1991 before co-founding the band, Way Out West, which became a highly sought after country act in the Rocky Mountain region. With Pete as the band’s front man, Way Out West set several attendance records in the 1990s and grew the fan base throughout Wyoming, Colorado, the Rocky Mountains and abroad.
In 1998, Pete was invited to Nashville, Tenn., to record his first album, “Changes.” The record was released by an independent label in 2002 and was described by Ben Minton of Cowboys & Indians Magazine, the nation’s leading Western publication, as, “…an album that start to finish delivers the goods. Every track on Pete Martinez’s ‘Changes’ is solid.” The album continues to receive acclaim throughout the industry.
As demand for his music continued to grow, Pete returned to Nashville to record his second album, “I Would for You.” The first single off the album, “I Hear You Knockin’,” became a hit in the country dance world when a team of its most renowned instructors (Jo Thompson, Barry & Dari Anne Amato and John H. Robinson) choreographed a line dance to the song. The dance and the single debuted together in January 2004 at the World Dance Championships in Nashville. Its popularity resulted in strong sales of the song throughout the U.S. as well as Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, Italy, France and Mexico. An instructional DVD for the dance was recorded at the Grizzly Rose in Denver, Colo., for release and distribution in the dance community.
Throughout his career, Pete has been approached by distinguished organizations to write and perform songs. In 2013, he wrote, recorded and donated the song “The Horse” to be used in the documentary “Horse Sense.” The documentary, which was narrated by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, highlights Colorado State University’s groundbreaking and world-class equine research program.
Pete was also approached by The Greatest Generations Foundation to write “We Thank You” as a theme song for the organization. He was invited to perform the song at the 2014 70th Anniversary Celebration of the World War II invasion of Normandy in France.
The story behind “We Thank You” was featured in a story by KESQ, the ABC affiliate in Palm Springs, Calif.
Pete is proud to have had opportunities to support many national nonprofit organizations, donating performances to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, Special Olympics, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Share Our Strength, families affected by the Sept. 11 attacks, firefighters, children’s education, police officers, Wounded Warriors and many others.
In addition to music, Pete is passionate about water. He first founded Teton Water Group, and eventually, Western Water Resources, to help cities and agricultural landowners develop their water resources. He also helped the City of Aurora establish the location for its Prairie Waters Project, the first recycled water project in Colorado of its magnitude. Pete helped implement the solution to pull water from the South Platte River near Brighton, Colo., and deliver it 34 miles away to Aurora through a 40-day, six-step process. The project increased Aurora’s water supply by 20 percent within five years, earning his company an invitation to be an associate member of the Denver Water Authority.
Occasionally getting home to Wyoming, Pete resides mostly in the Front Range of Colorado when not traveling for performances or recording in Nashville.